A North Wales gasification pioneer aims to seal the UK’s low-carbon future after winning a Government grant worth nearly £300,000 to develop waste-to-hydrogen production technology, innovation funding specialist Catax can reveal.

Deeside-based Compact Syngas Solutions (CSS) has secured £299,886 from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) with the help of Catax. The funding comes from the Low Carbon Hydrogen Supply 2 Programme, which is part of the Net Zero Innovation Portfolio.

If successful, their technological leap will form a major part of the Government’s bid to reach net zero by 2050, as the only exhaust emissions from hydrogen-fuelled vehicles are warm air and water. CSS are also in the process of developing carbon capture technology for the gasification process to reduce emissions even further.

The project aims to demonstrate that low carbon hydrogen can be produced economically and efficiently. The hydrogen produced by the modular unit being developed could also be used by power plants in areas detached from mainstream energy grids.

CSS is being supported on the project by:

• Q-Technologies, a mass spectrometry and sensor specialist based in Liverpool

• Pure Energy Centre (PEC), an engineering company specialising in renewables and hydrogen technologies based in Unst, Shetland

• ASH Group, headquartered in Oswestry, Shropshire

The solution they have devised will create hydrogen using what’s known as Solid Recovered Fuel (SRF) – in other words, biomass waste diverted from landfill by waste management companies with the aim of utilising Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) in the future.

The project will be led by CSS managing director Paul Willacy, who has worked in the gasification sector for over 20 years. Hydrogen production worldwide currently relies largely on fossil fuel-based Steam-Methane-Reformation (SMR) of natural gas. CSS’s technology will be smaller scale, greener and will produce cleaner hydrogen.

If this initial phase is successful, it will open up the possibility of an additional £6m of BEIS funding to allow the team to build a full-scale, state-of-the-art solution of the kind that doesn’t exist anywhere in the world. This facility would be capable of producing 35kg of hydrogen per hour — enough to fill around 20 large vehicles per day.

There are currently no UK facilities producing hydrogen from SRF despite the existence of approximately 1,150 waste management companies across the UK, a significant number of which could contribute to the hydrogen fuel supply chain.

The Government has set a target for the UK to reach 10GW of low carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030. Here in the UK, BEIS analysis suggests 250-460TWh of hydrogen could be needed by 2050, representing up to 35% of final energy consumption. The UK currently produces only 27TWh of hydrogen per year and only 11 UK fuel stations offer it.

The Hydrogen Roadmap Europe predicts that over 45,000 trucks and buses could be using hydrogen by 2030 and they would need to be served by 3,700 large refuelling stations.

Paul Willacy, managing director of CSS, said: “The world must transition to low-carbon solutions to combat climate change but pure electric vehicles are unlikely to provide the whole answer.

“Hydrogen, as a fuel with zero emissions, is an equally promising option for the world as it navigates itself towards a net zero future.

“This grant is an important first step in making sure hydrogen technology becomes commercially viable soon enough to make a significant contribution in the battle for net zero.”

Karen Taylor, group head of grants at innovation funding specialist Catax, said: “This is one of the most exciting grant applications we’ve ever worked on because of where this technology could take us as a global society.”

Source: By Claire Pierce | leaderlive.co.uk