University wins funding to explore how to exploit a net zero fuel source

The University of Hull has been awarded £245,000 to investigate the possibility of producing hydrogen from the waste streams produced by biorefineries.

The funding was awarded by the UK Government’s Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) through phase one of its Hydrogen BECCS Innovation Programme, which has been funded by the £1bn Net Zero Innovation Portfolio.

Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (often referred to as BECCS) is of special interest as it is a negative carbon emission technology.

Bioenergy is produced from renewable feedstocks such as crops which absorb carbon as they grow; this carbon is then permanently captured during the energy production stage.

Supported by the BEIS funding, Project Bluegen will be led by Dr Martin Taylor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Hull.

Taylor said: “Industrial production of biofuels using plant-based feedstocks is growing and as a result, these biorefineries are producing more waste. These sludge-based materials are an untapped supply of hydrogen, a future net-zero fuel.

“Project Bluegen will produce hydrogen through gasification of these sludges. Working with our project partners, we will focus on cost effective pre-treatments of biorefinery waste so it can be successfully used as a gasifier feedstock.

“We are aiming to design an integrated system of hydrogen production that can be coupled with carbon capture and storage (CCS), thus eliminating carbon dioxide emissions and preventing the release of waste to landfill.”

Project Bluegen is led by the University of Hull in partnership with Aston University, Biorenewables Development Centre in York, Teesside University and Jesmond Engineering.

This builds on THYME Project research into biofuel pre-treatment processes undertaken by the University of Hull with the Biorenewables Development Centre in York, Teesside University, and Jesmond Engineering.