ABSL Secures Grant for Biohydrogen Research

24th November 2020

Advanced Biofuel Solutions Ltd (ABSL), University College London (UCL) and Wood have been awarded a £250,000 grant from Innovate UK to design a production line that makes high purity biohydrogen for fuel cell electric vehicles.

The ABSL plant in Swindon will convert household waste into bio-substitute natural gas (BioSNG) that is injected into the local gas grid and then sold to compressed natural gas filling stations. The project will focus on taking a slipstream of syngas from this plant and purifying it to meet the stringent specification for proton electron membrane fuel cells. The hydrogen would then be compressed and transferred to tube trailers that will take it to hydrogen refueling stations for use in buses and other hydrogen vehicles.

The Swindon plant uses ABSL’s RadGas technology to convert waste into a high-quality synthesis gas and Wood’s VESTA technology to convert this syngas into BioSNG. Wood will adapt the VESTA system to switch flexibly between the biohydrogen and BioSNG production. This will give ABSL the ability to deliver either product to meet market demand.

UCL will use innovative techniques to test the biohydrogen produced by the plant at their Electrochemical Innovation Lab to ensure that it does not damage or degrade fuel cell performance. The University will also assess the greenhouse gas emissions associated with biohydrogen and compare them to blue and green hydrogen.

Overall, the project aims to develop a new source of hydrogen to help give transport providers in the public and private sectors the confidence to adopt this important new fuel.

Andy Cornell, CEO of ABSL, said “Biohydrogen can offer better environmental and economic performance than either blue or green hydrogen. This project will help demonstrate the ability for the RadGas technology to deliver biohydrogen reliably and efficiently.”

“Richard Spires, Technology Development Director at Wood, said “Wood has decades of experience making, moving and using hydrogen. To meet the increasing demand for fuel cells, we are developing our methanation technology (VESTA) to convert a waste derived syngas into high quality hydrogen. This is just one example of where we are adapting our current technology portfolio to support net zero targets, as well as meet industry and societal needs.”

Dr. Massimiliano Materazzi, RAEng Research Fellow at the Dept. of Chemical Engineering at UCL, said “UCL Chemical Engineering are world leaders in novel waste-to-fuel technologies, electrochemical systems and lifecycle analysis. This project will allow us to apply our expertise in all these areas to assess the performance of biohydrogen made from household wastes, and its pivotal role in decarbonising transport”

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