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Hycap: UK Waste-to-Hydrogen Sector Gets Government Funding Boost

By August 18, 2022 4   min read  (510 words)

August 18, 2022 |

Fuel Cells Works, Hycap: UK Waste-to-Hydrogen Sector Gets Government Funding Boost
  • After global warming, waste pollution is the biggest environmental threat to our planet.

Global plastics production doubled from 2000 to 2019 to reach 460 million tonnes, accounting for 3.4% of worldwide carbon emissions, according to the OECD.

Only 9% of plastic waste is recycled – 15% is collected for recycling but 40% of that is disposed of as residues. A further 19% is incinerated, 50% ends up in landfill and 22% goes straight into uncontrolled dumps, is burned in open pits, or ends up in oceans and rivers or strewn across open land.

The potential for clean hydrogen made from splitting water with renewable energy to help in the fight against climate change is well known. Less so, the ability to turn waste, including hard-to-recycle plastics, into clean hydrogen.

Some of world’s leading waste-to-hydrogen companies are from the UK, including Powerhouse Energy, developer of a technology called Distributed Modular Generation (DMG), which takes plastic, end-of-life tyres and other usually unrecyclable waste and turns them into syngas, which can be used to make hydrogen, electricity, and chemical inputs.

Now, the UK government is seeing the potential in this technology and has provided funding to two early-stage projects as part of its £5 million Hydrogen BECCS Innovation Programme Phase 1.

Levidian Nanosystems and United Utilities were granted £212,000 for a project to use biogas from wastewater treatment as feedstock to produce hydrogen and graphene through Levidian’s LOOP process.

The UK water industry produces 489 million cubic metres of biogas annually from its anaerobic digestion processes.

Levidian claims its LOOP process produces hydrogen at little to no cost because there is a market for its other product, graphene.

Fuel Cells Works, Hycap: UK Waste-to-Hydrogen Sector Gets Government Funding Boost

Some of world’s leading waste-to-hydrogen companies are from the UK, including Powerhouse Energy, developer of a technology called Distributed Modular Generation (DMG), which takes plastic, end-of-life tyres and other usually unrecyclable waste and turns them into syngas, which can be used to make hydrogen, electricity, and chemical inputs.

Similar economics are being marketed by another leader in the waste-to-hydrogen space, Luxembourg-based Boson Energy, which has developed a plasma-assisted gasification process that breaks down waste into hydrogen, carbon dioxide and a molten slurry that solidifies into a blue-grey glassy rock.

Municipalities will pay for their waste to be taken away, the rock can be sold for construction, making the hydrogen cheaper than that produced by electrolysis, according to Boson.

Waste-to-hydrogen technology being developed by the University of Aberdeen received £220,000 in funding from the UK Government’s Hydrogen BECCS Innovation Programme, it was announced this week.

Fuel Cells Works, Hycap: UK Waste-to-Hydrogen Sector Gets Government Funding Boost

The UK government is seeing the potential in waste-t0-hydrogen technology and has provided funding to two early-stage projects as part of its £5 million Hydrogen BECCS Innovation Programme Phase 1.

The University of Aberdeen is working with Cranfield University in England, and the University of Verona in Italy to commercialise its four-stage process: dark fermentation, anaerobic digestion, plasma reforming, and steam gasification.

Only with investment in early-stage hydrogen technologies such as these will the UK maintain its place at the forefront of the emerging hydrogen economy. We support the efforts of the government to ensure this happens.

To learn more about HYCAP click here.

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