The US Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded $2m to four research and development projects which are advancing clean hydrogen production technologies.
It is widely regarded that these technologies may prove pivotal to reducing carbon emissions and support the Biden Administration’s climate change goals.
Biden’s Administration has set out goals to achieve a 100% clean energy economy and reach net-zero emissions by no later than 2050. This is the first real step in realising this goal.
With natural gas currently the main source for hydrogen production by industrial facilities in the US, this funding will help explore a different way to produce hydrogen through co-gasification.
Co-gasification is the process of blending waste from biomass, plastic and coal feedstocks with oxygen and steam.
This is done under high pressures and temperatures which has the potential to produce cleaner hydrogen that can be used for multiple different purposes.
When combined with carbon capture and storage, the process can in fact lead to net-negative emissions further proving the capabilities of utilising hydrogen.
The funding from DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy enables four teams to work on co-gasification technologies with a focus on prioritising sustainable feedstocks such as waste from forestry or agriculture.
These four teams include, Auburn University, Electric Power Research Institute, University of Kentucky Research Foundation and the University of Utah.
Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholmn stated, “With these awards, we’re leaning on some of America’s most brilliant minds to turn these ideas into real solutions – at the same time creating clean energy jobs and reducing pollution in the air we breathe.” Which was a major part of Biden’s presidential campaign.
Funding in detail
Auburn University has been awarded $499,485 to study the gasification performance of select feedstock mixtures in a laboratory-scale fluidised-bed gasifier.
The Electric Power Research Institute has been given an amount of $500,002 to perform testing of a moving-bed gasifier using coal, biomass, and waste plastic blends to generate clean hydrogen.
The University of Kentucky Research Foundation has been awarded $500,000 to develop and study a coal, biomass, and plastic blend fuel by producing hydrophobic layer encapsulated biomass suitable for slurry, conducting lab-scale kinetic and gasification studies on the feedstock blend.
It is also for demonstrating practical operations in a commercially relevant 1 ton/day entrained flow gasifier.
Lastly, the University of Utah has also been awarded $500,000 to leverage a high-pressure, slurry-fed, oxygen-blown entrained-flow system.
This will enable co-gasification of biomass and waste plastic by creating slurries of coal, biomass pyrolysis liquids and liquefied plastic oil.