The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has handed out $2 million to four research and development (R&D) projects advancing clean-hydrogen production technologies.
Natural gas is currently the main source for hydrogen production by industrial facilities in the United States. With this funding, researchers will explore a different way to produce hydrogen using a process known as co-gasification. Co-gasification blends waste from biomass, plastic, and coal feedstocks with oxygen and steam under high pressures and temperatures, which has the potential to produce cleaner hydrogen. When combined with carbon capture and storage, this process may even lead to net-negative emissions.
The funding opportunity from DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy will enable four teams to work on co-gasification technologies, with a focus on prioritizing sustainable feedstocks such as waste from forestry or agriculture. The four projects selected are:
- Auburn University plans to study the gasification performance of select feedstock mixtures in a laboratory-scale fluidized-bed gasifier. Award amount is $499,485.
- Electric Power Research Institute plans to perform testing of a moving-bed gasifier using coal, biomass, and waste plastic blends to generate clean hydrogen. Award amount is $500,002.
- University of Kentucky Research Foundation plans 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, and demonstrating practical operations in a commercially relevant 1 ton/day entrained flow gasifier. Award amount is $500,000.
- University of Utah plans to leverage a high-pressure, slurry-fed, oxygen-blown entrained-flow system to enable co-gasification of biomass and waste plastic by creating slurries of coal, biomass pyrolysis liquids, and liquefied plastic oil. Award amount is $500,000.