via RMIT University
Researchers have used biosolids to produce hydrogen from wastewater, in new technology that supports the comprehensive recycling of one of humanity’s unlimited resources – sewage.
The innovation focuses on the advanced upcycling of biosolids and biogas, by-products of the wastewater treatment process.
Developed by researchers at RMIT University, the patented technology uses a special material derived from biosolids to spark chemical reactions for producing hydrogen from biogas.
The approach means all the materials needed for hydrogen production could be sourced on-site at a wastewater treatment plant, without the need for expensive catalysts.
The method also traps the carbon found in biosolids and biogas, which could in future enable a near zero-emission wastewater sector.
Lead researcher Associate Professor Kalpit Shah said existing commercial methods for producing hydrogen were emission and capital-intensive, and relied heavily on natural gas.
“Our alternative technology offers a sustainable, cost-effective, renewable and efficient approach to hydrogen production,” said Shah, Deputy Director (Academic) of the ARC Training Centre for Transformation of Australia’s Biosolids Resource at RMIT.
“To enable the transition to a circular economy, we need technology that enables us to squeeze the full value from resources that would ordinarily go to waste.
“Our new technology for making hydrogen relies on waste materials that are essentially in unlimited supply.
“By harnessing the power of biosolids to produce a fully clean fuel from biogas – while simultaneously preventing greenhouse gas emissions – we can deliver a true environmental and economic win.”
Biosolids are commonly used as fertiliser and soil amendment in agriculture, but around 30% of the world’s biosolids resource is stockpiled or sent to landfill, creating an environmental challenge.
Dr Aravind Surapaneni, Senior Research and Planning Scientist at South East Water and Deputy Director (Industry) of the ARC Training Centre for Transformation of Australia’s Biosolids Resource, said research into new and valuable uses for biosolids was vital.
“The wastewater sector is constantly looking to develop new ways to transform biosolids into high-value products, in environmentally sustainable and responsible ways,” Surapaneni said.
How the tech works
In the new method, published in the International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, biosolids are first converted to biochar – a carbon-rich form of charcoal used to improve soil health.
The biosolids-derived biochar contains some heavy metals, which makes it an ideal catalyst for producing hydrogen out of biogas.
As part of the experimental bench-scale study, researchers tested the process with a methane-rich gas that resembles biogas.
They showed the biochar made from biosolids is highly effective for decomposing the gas into its component elements – hydrogen and carbon.
The decomposition process can also be conducted in a specially designed and hyper-efficient reactor developed and patented by RMIT, which can produce both hydrogen and a high-value biochar that is coated with carbon nanomaterials.
By converting the carbon found in biogas and biosolids into advanced carbon nanomaterials, their method can also capture and sequester the greenhouse gas to prevent its release into the atmosphere.
The carbon nanomaterial-coated biochar produced through the novel technique has a range of potential applications including environmental remediation, boosting agricultural soils and energy storage.
The Latest Updates from Bing News & Google News
Go deeper with Bing News on:
Hydrogen from wastewater
- New Sensor Takes up the Fight Against Hydrogen Sulfide in Sewerson October 6, 2020 at 2:57 pm
SulfiLogger A/S, has developed a new sensor technology that delivers new and better insights into the hydrogen sulfide challenge by measuring dissolved H2S ...
- NEW ERA: What bioHub opening means for regionon October 1, 2020 at 11:30 am
Utilitas conducted 350 site assessments across Australia for a biohub industrial park, and “Bundaberg’s number 1”.
- Clean Water Drives Need For Digital Transformationon October 1, 2020 at 6:33 am
De Nora is on the front lines of environmental problems by developing and distributing mission-critical water treatment technologies.
- Bundaberg bioHub industrial park open for businesson September 30, 2020 at 11:45 pm
The Bundaberg bioHub industrial park is now taking expressions of interest from prospective bioenergy, food and fertiliser industry tenants.
- AWWA Virtual Summit Noteson September 28, 2020 at 8:25 am
Bob’s Takeaways Keynote Address 2020 posed an immediate challenge that resulted in a complete change in thinking and perspective in how we get work ...
Go deeper with Google Headlines on:
Hydrogen from wastewater
Go deeper with Bing News on:
Hydrogen from biogas
- Newlight licenses AirCarbon to Ikeaon September 29, 2020 at 5:00 pm
The AirCarbon plants currently run using biogas from landfills as their sole carbon feedstock ... The result is a material that is approximately 40% oxygen from air and 60% carbon and hydrogen from ...
- Biogas made from biosolids produces sustainable hydrogenon September 27, 2020 at 7:29 am
The biogas technology is discussed in the journal International Journal of Hydrogen Energy. The research paper is titled "Production of hydrogen by catalytic methane decomposition using biochar ...
- Chart Industries joins Hydrogen Europeon September 22, 2020 at 1:35 am
Chart Industries has joined Hydrogen Europe, an association promoting hydrogen as the enabler of a zero emission society.
- How to harness the power of biosolids to make hydrogenon September 15, 2020 at 10:04 pm
New technology uses biosolids to drive the chemical reactions needed to produce hydrogen from biogas. The circular economy approach means all the materials needed for hydrogen production could be ...
- Element 1 Corp Announces Road Testing of World’s First Medium-Duty Fuel Cell Truck with Proprietary Onboard Hydrogen Generationon September 15, 2020 at 11:45 am
The M-Series produces no particulate matter in the generation of hydrogen, and when using methanol produced from waste gas streams such as landfill gas or biogas, e1’s hydrogen generation solution is ...