Biorenewables Development Centre awarded funding for biohydrogen research

The Biorenewables Development Centre (BDC) has been awarded £5 million in phase two funding to continue research and development on their H2-Boost project, a multi-stage biohydrogen production process intended to provide power to the UK transport sector through the use of waste feedstock. 

Biohydrogen transport sectorThe funding comes from the Department of Energy Security and the Net Zero Innovation Portfolio (NZIP), which provides funding for low-carbon systems and technologies with an aim to decarbonise UK industries through practices such as energy from waste.

It follows an earlier investment of £250 thousand over six months as part of the Hydrogen Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) Innovation Programme, which supports technologies that combine carbon capture with the production of hydrogen from biogenic feedstocks.

The H2-Boost project, led by the BDC and its ten partners, proposes a three-stage process where organic waste feedstock is pre-treated using advanced wet oxidation to improve yields and reaction times before being processed into hydrogen gas through dark fermentation (DF). The fermentation byproducts are then used in anaerobic digestion and algal propagation, enabling enhanced biomethane yields alongside carbon capture and storage (CCS).

With the additional funding from NZIP, the BDC and its collaborators will build on the research conducted during phase one of the project by subjecting feedstocks to different pretreatment conditions and running fermentation byproducts through the proposed downstream processing systems.

Biohydrogen to decarbonise the transport sector

BDC hopes the processes developed as part of the H2-Boost project will offer a reliable source of low-carbon, UK-produced biohydrogen, with the downstream processing of fermentation byproducts helping to address the large volumes of waste involved in industrial biohydrogen production.

The H2-Boost collaborators say they aim to create a technology that is both financially and environmentally sustainable and hope that their work will contribute to the decarbonisation of the long-haulage transport sector while helping to meet the growing demand for hydrogen power built into the UK’s net zero goals.

Deborah Rathbone, Bioscience Innovation Team Manager at the Biorenewables Development Centre, commented: “We are delighted to be awarded phase two funding to further develop biohydrogen for the UK transport sector.

“Working with our ten partners, the University of Leeds, Greenthread Solutions, Qube Renewables, Aardvark EM, WSP, Cyanocapture Ltd, The Maltings Organic Treatment Ltd, AB Agri, NNFCC and CM90 Ltd, we have a real opportunity here to make a difference as the H2-Boost objectives align with the UK ambition of reaching net-zero by 2050, with low carbon hydrogen-based technologies providing up to 35 per cent of energy requirements.”

The BDC, a subsidiary of the University of York is an open-access research, development and demonstration centre working at the interface between academia and industry to develop, scale-up and commercialise bio-based products and processes.

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