Aberdeen University secures £220k to turn waste into hydrogen

The research could see organic matter in food waste, manure, wastewater and other biodegradable waste converted into hydrogen and used to power homes and businesses

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The University of Aberdeen has been awarded £220,000 in funding for research into creating a new process to turn organic waste into hydrogen.

The research could see organic matter in food waste, manure, wastewater and other biodegradable waste converted into hydrogen and used to power homes and businesses on a commercial scale.

The project will use a sequence of biological, thermochemical and electrochemical stages to maximise the conversion of organic matter into hydrogen.

It will adopt an innovative process consisting of four main reaction stages – dark fermentation, anaerobic digestion, plasma reforming and steam gasification.

The researchers aim to maximise the hydrogen yield from organic waste by scaling up and integrating these four stages.

The project will be led by the university’s School of Engineering, with partners including researchers from the Cranfield University in England and the University of Verona in Italy.

Professor Davide Dionisi from the School of Engineering, a specialist in biomass research said: “Hydrogen is a key energy vector in the energy transition and generating hydrogen from organic waste would achieve the combined benefits of reducing environmental pollution and of generating green sustainable energy.

“So far there is no commercial process that produces hydrogen from organic waste but our proposed process combines waste treatment with energy generation and can be entirely powered from renewable electricity, thereby providing a more sustainable alternative to other processes for hydrogen production from non-renewable and renewable resources.”