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04-08-2022

Hydrogen BECCS Innovation Programme Phase 1: successful projects

BEIS awarded £5 million of funding for the Phase 1 scoping and development stage of this Programme, with up to £250,000 of funding per project.

The funding enables the 22 organisations listed here, including start-ups and small- and medium-sized enterprises, to develop strong project proposals aimed at delivering commercially viable innovative hydrogen BECCS technology solutions across 3 categories:

1. Feedstock pre-processing: the development of low cost, energy and material efficient technologies which will optimise biogenic (including biomass and waste) feedstocks for use in advanced gasification technologies.

2. Gasification components: the development of advanced gasification technology components focusing on improving syngas quality and upgrading for generation of hydrogen.

3. Novel biohydrogen technologies: the development of novel biohydrogen technologies which can be combined with carbon capture, for example dark fermentation, anaerobic digestion, waste water treatment.

Category 1: Feedstock pre-processing

Producing hydrogen fuel feedstock from compost oversize

Led by Biowise Limited.

Biowise are a leading composting and waste management company operating across the north and Midlands. Biowise are proposing, with Hydrogen BECCS innovation funding, to develop an exciting project that will process a waste compost oversize to produce a biogenic feedstock source for hydrogen gasifiers. The innovation will use sorting, grading and material handling techniques to produce a fuel that meets a hydrogen gasification feedstock specification, thereby addressing the current challenges associated with compost oversize, and also providing a fully biogenic feedstock for hydrogen BECCS supply chains.

Bluegen - Utilisation of Biorefinery Residues for Blue Hydrogen Production

Led by University of Hull.

With the growing use of bio-fuels produced through fermentation and digesters (removal of sugars), we produce more bio-refinery waste through the conversion of lignocellulosic biomass. 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. This project will focus on cost effective treatment of bio-refinery waste for use as a gasifier feedstock, which will also have process efficiency benefits. We will take a holistic approach to the use of sludge-based solid fuels by carrying out cradle-to-grave techno-economic and life-cycle assessments, resulting in the design of an integrated system, sugar removal and hydrogen production that can be coupled with carbon capture and storage (CCS), thus eliminating CO2 emissions and preventing the release of waste to landfill.

Category 2: Gasification components

Development of Biomass Gasification Tar Reformation and Ash Removal

Led by Advanced Biofuel Solutions Ltd.

ABSL and UCL will collaborate to enhance and improve biomass gasification. Fluidised bed oxy-steam gasification is a key pathway to produce BECCS biohydrogen. However, biomass contains ash components that can bind the fluidised bed and impair the gasification process. This means that gasification takes place at low temperatures resulting in the formation of tars. The ash and tars foul equipment making the gas produced from biomass very difficult to work with. This project will explore novel solutions to deal with these contaminants.

Micro-H2 hub utilising biogenic feedstock for hydrogen and CO2 production

Led by Compact Syngas Solutions Limited.

Compact Syngas Solutions has brought together proven technology and expertise in gasification / gasifier processes, with support from sub-contractors in chemical and process engineering and design.

Project objectives include exploring the technical, economic, and commercial feasibility of using water, replacing amines, as a scrubbing material, for CO2 removal and capture in a form that can be transported and sold to end-users, using biogenic feedstock from syngas streams.

Bio-hydrogen Produced by Enhanced Reforming (Bio-HyPER)

Led by Cranfield University.

Bio-HyPER is a collaboration between Cranfield University, Helical Energy, Bioenergy Infrastructure Group, GTI Energy, Petrofac, and Origen Power looking to demonstrate a state-of-the-art hydrogen BECCS process.

The project will undertake a feasibility study on the production of biomass-derived hydrogen with carbon capture. This feasibility study will assess the potential for integrating advanced gasification technologies and biogas feedstocks with the HyPER process. The clean hydrogen production technology is based on Sorption Enhanced Reforming, and the Phase 2 project will demonstrate the technology in the HyPER pilot plant at Cranfield University.

RiPR (Rising Pressure Reformer) using SCWG (Super Critical Water Gasification)

Led by Helical Energy Ltd.

RiPR (Rising Pressure Reformer) is led by Helical Energy in collaboration with Cranfield University looking to demonstrate this state-of-the-art novel H2BECCS process. The innovation is a disruptive technology changing the current order of thinking on gasification. RiPR processes biogenic fuels by gasification and water-gas-shift at extremely high pressure and temperature. At these conditions the fuel is rapidly converted to Hydrogen, Methane and CO2. Besides being net-negative when using biogenic fuels, the key advantages are that little or no fuel preparation is required and the product gas is delivered at high pressure requiring no further expensive and energy intensive compression.

Enhancement of KEW biomass gasification technology performances through optimisation of the H2/CO2 separation process stage

Led by Kew Projects Ltd.

KEW’s innovative pressurised Advanced Gasification Technology (AGT) converts biomass into a hydrogen-rich Syngas and is demonstrated at commercial-scale at its plant in Wednesbury. KEW is adding process steps based on proven technologies to produce high-purity Hydrogen for transport or industry as well as CO2 ready for sequestration. This Project will evaluate innovative processes which can reduce the capital and operational costs of the H2 / CO2 separation stage as well as improve the overall energy efficiency. A demonstrator will be designed with the aim of being tested in phase 2 in a modular configuration ready for commercial applications.

North East Waste Wood Hydrogen Demonstrator (NEW2H2)

Led by Northumbria University.

This project will determine the techno-economic viability of a scalable, modular, demonstration plant that generates biohydrogen out of waste wood gasification. The system is designated the ‘North East Waste Wood Hydrogen Demonstrator’ – NEW2H2. The demonstrator will be located in South Tyneside at the Holborn site in South Shields. It will form part of the Holborn Renewable Energy Network (HREN) that aims to generate renewable energy by scavenging waste energy resources. This is a collaborative effort between local authorities (South Tyneside Council and the North East Local Enterprise Network), academia (Northumbria University) and industry (Driver Global Construction Consultancy and Buro Happold).

Novel plasma reforming technology for tars reduction in BECCS

Led by Queen Mary University of London.

Gasification is the underpinning technology for biohydrogen and BECCS. The syngas produced from gasification of biomass contains not only the useful CO and H2, but also tars, mixed ash-char particles, and inorganic contaminants. The key challenge for implementing BECCS systems globally is delivering an integrated, engineered system reducing problematic components to a manageable level cost-effectively. QMUL and UCL will explore the feasibility of a novel solution to remove these contaminants from syngas by employing a novel self-powered plasma catalytic system for particles and tars removal and develop a costed plan for implementing this solution in an existing gasification plant.

H2 production via Biomass gasification Integrated with innovative one-step Gas shift reforming and separation (BIG-H2)

Led by Translational Energy Research Centre - The University of Sheffield.

BIG-H2 investigates the integration of biomass/bio-waste gasification with innovative gas cleaning/upgrading and novel membrane-based separation to produce high-purity hydrogen and CO2 – a BECCS-to-hydrogen solution with potential to deliver long-term net negative emissions for a range of industries. Focusing on technologies, feedstocks, techno-economics, product markets, sustainability and demonstration/development, the project will ultimately produce an initial FEED study of the integrated system. Along with systems modelling and validation of the demonstration plant, these feasibility studies will develop the concept and identify a forward development plan to take into Phase 2 – a large-scale industrial demonstration to prove the technology in real operational environments.

Category 3: Novel biohydrogen technologies

Hydrogen from Cyanobacteria - a biological route to zero-carbon or carbon-negative hydrogen

Led by 17Cicada Ltd.

17Cicada is a UK start-up established to develop, scale up and commercialise a range of “products from bacteria” technologies. The company’s CTO, Dr Samantha Bryan, is an academic researcher based at Nottingham University.

In this project we propose using cyanobacteria for the biological production of hydrogen. Cyanobacteria are photosynthetic organisms that use light energy and carbon dioxide (CO2) as a carbon source under ambient conditions offering a low energy, zero/negative-carbon approach for the direct production of hydrogen from solar energy.

This approach has the potential to complement other hydrogen production methods and associated carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies.

Eco Dark Fermentation

Led by Alps Ecoscience UK Ltd.

Alps Ecoscience’s H2 BECCS project seeks to produce hydrogen from waste using Dark Fermentation to deliver a sustainable, low carbon energy supply. This novel technology will enable anaerobic digestion plants to produce hydrogen in conjunction with their existing biogas production. The process enables economies of production in heat and electricity and greater waste to energy conversion through biological process efficiency. Resulting in more energy per tonne, reduced carbon emissions and the diversion of organic material from landfill or incineration. The work is delivered by Alps Ecoscience, a biological engineering consultancy specialising in the development of green fuels from organic waste.

Production of biohydrogen from waste biomass

Led by CATAGEN Limited.

As a net-zero business known for highly innovative, new technology solutions, CATAGEN is applying its proprietary recirculating-gas reactor technology to develop a cost-effective method of producing low-carbon biohydrogen. This approach can facilitate the early adoption of low-carbon hydrogen and greatly accelerate the route to a Net Zero hydrogen economy.

The production of hydrogen from sustainable biomass is a key challenge in the realisation of a hydrogen economy. The proposed CATAGEN solution has the potential to produce renewable bio-hydrogen and bio-CO2 from waste biomass via an energy efficient approach. At current market price this would allow production of low-carbon bio-hydrogen compared to the cost of green hydrogen.

Pure Pyrolysis Refined

Led by Environmental Power International (UK R&D) Limited.

Environmental Power International has developed a unique Pure Pyrolysis technology which converts almost any type of organic matter into high quality fuel gas and carbon-rich char.

This unique process has no combustion, therefore zero emissions. The process has been developed in the UK and successfully trialled at full scale over more than 20 years.

Focus to-date has been on production of electricity, but through this programme we bring together two other unique UK technologies, to demonstrate production of green hydrogen and carbon sequestration with zero emissions.

Carbon Life Cycle assessments already indicate carbon negative performance from this unique British technology.

HAROW – Hydrogen by Aqueous-Phase Reforming of Organic Wastes

Led by ICMEA-UK Ltd.

HAROW - a consortium project with partners ICMEA-UK, Olleco and Aston University, focusses on hydrogen production from organically contaminated wastewater.

Based on research at Aston, ICMEA-UK will lead engineering of a reactor to utilise various organic wastes in water available at Olleco.

The objectives of this project are to demonstrate that the process will work effectively, producing high yields of biogenic hydrogen. Using a laboratory rig, the reaction kinetics with different feedstocks will be established, allowing design parameters, capital/operating costs as well as hydrogen yields for the Phase 2 demonstrator to be determined, targeting ~5kg/hr of hydrogen.

Biohydrogen from Dark and Photo Fermentation

Led by Phoebus Power Limited.

Phoebus Power has joined with Grassroots Energy to develop an innovative production process for Bio-Hydrogen to produce nearly 100% Hydrogen from organic feedstocks like straw, grass, food waste and energy crops. The feasibility study will work on the design of, first-of-its-kind, biphasic dark and photo fermentation system using novel and proprietary microbes while capturing the CO2 generated. The BEIS funding of the Phase 1 feasibility study will enable the development of a demonstration project in Phase 2 to showcase the biorefinery concept to produce Bio-Hydrogen from organic feedstocks that are widely available in the UK and globally.

Thermal Catalytic Conversion of Syngas to Carbon Nanotubes

Led by The Cool Corporation Ltd.

The collective project between Cool, Kew and Petrofac aims to convert syngas derived from RDF to Biohydrogen (Bio-H2) and Carbon Nanotubes (CNTs). By doing so, we aim to simultaneously reduce CO2 emissions, produce clean hydrogen and CNTs - a high value nanomaterial with wide ranging applications. The consortium will build a pilot plant to demonstrate the commercial feasibility and emissions reduction potential of Cool’s technology. Kew and Petrofac are part of the consortium preparing the technical, costs and execution definition of the project.

The Sustainable Biogas, Hydrogen, Graphene LOOP

Led by United Utilities Water.

Our project will provide a completely sustainable feed source to produce hydrogen and graphene using the Levidian LOOP process. By adopting biogas from the treatment of wastewater as the feed material to the LOOP we hope to provide a continuous supply of a fuel source, hydrogen, and a means of carbon capture and storage, graphene. By using this continuously available and sustainable feed material we are opening up opportunities for multiple industries to become carbon neutral and supporting the UK government in achieving a viable and sustainable hydrogen economy and their targets for net zero carbon.

Hydrogen from organic waste with an integrated biological-thermal-electrochemical process

Led by University of Aberdeen.

The project aims to develop an innovative and sustainable process to obtain hydrogen from the organic matter present in many types of waste using a combination of biological, thermal and electrochemical processes. Project partners are University of Aberdeen, University of Cranfield and University of Verona.

Phase 1 is a feasibility study of the process. Phase 2 will be aimed at building and operating the pilot plant that will be used to demonstrate the process. The pilot plant will be used for functional and performance testing and will allow the measurement of the hydrogen yield and of the energy consumption.

H2-Boost

Led by University of Leeds.

The H2-Boost project aims to produce biohydrogen for the UK transport sector in an environmentally sustainable and commercially viable manner. The proposed multi-step process uses organic waste readily available as feedstock (farm waste, manures, etc.), which is initially pre-treated using a novel oxidation process (advanced wet oxidation) to increase biodegradability and hydrogen yields in a subsequent biological process (dark fermentation), using fermentative microorganisms to transform organic compounds into hydrogen gas and other valuable by products. We will conduct a comprehensive feasibility study to assess the potential of this technology and produce a business case for implementation at full scale.

BIOHYGAS

Led by University of South Wales.

BIOHYGAS is a two-stage biohydrogen / biomethane AD system which can increase energy recovery from sewage biosolids by up to 37% compared with existing processes. This project will demonstrate this process at full scale using USW’s innovative 2-stage digestion system, stage one produces hydrogen directly from sewage biosolids, the output from the biohydrogen reactor (stage 1) is then fed to a conventional methane digester which operates nearly twice as fast as a conventional methane digester resulting in higher yields of methane which is then converted to fuel cell grade hydrogen whilst the CO2 co-produced in both stages is used in food packaging.

Bio Hydrogen Demonstrator

Led by Wood Group UK Ltd.

Wood has created a hydrogen production technology that benefits from Wood’s market leading SMR (steam methane reformer) efficiency but is fed and fuelled by renewable biological liquid feedstocks. The proprietary process allows production of carbon neutral or, when coupled with carbon sequestration, carbon negative, hydrogen. Under the BEIS Hydrogen BECCS Innovation Programme, Wood will assess the feasibility of deploying its innovative biohydrogen production technology at an industrial demonstrator scale. The site for the demonstration of the technology will be integrated with an innovative UK Hydrogen infrastructure project.

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