BEIS has given £212,000 under the Net Zero Innovation Portfolio (NZIP) for the initial phase of a project that will use biogas from wastewater treatment as a totally sustainable feedstock to manufacture hydrogen and graphene via the Levidian LOOP. United Utilities will serve as project leader.

The water sector in the United Kingdom generates 489 million cubic meters of biogas annually through anaerobic digestion operations. This biogas is mostly utilized to create heat and electricity on-site. Additionally, it may be converted to biomethane and put back into the grid. By installing LOOP on water treatment plants, this biogas might be greatly decarbonized, its value enhanced, and new economic prospects created.

Phase one of the feasibility study will enable the collaboration to evaluate the performance of several biogas samples in a small-scale LOOP system situated at the Levidian Technology Centre in Cambridge and conduct in-depth analyses to optimize the hydrogen production. In phase two, which includes extensive field experiments, the teams will also certify the LOOP100 design with integrated hydrogen separation for deployment on a United Utilities site.

“This is an exciting project that will lead the way to utilizing LOOP to decarbonize biogas at scale,” comments Levidian CEO John Hartley. “The consortium has a vast amount of knowledge and experience, which we are leveraging to produce carbon negative hydrogen – there is no better goal to be working on right now.”

Lisa Mansell, Chief Engineer (innovation) for United Utilities, said: “We are actively seeking new innovations that recover value from our operations, driving us to be more sustainable and in order to bring benefits to our customers. This project will be the first use of the LOOP in the water sector and we are keen to explore how the application of this exciting technology can help us to deliver on our Net Zero Carbon goal.

“The partnership with Levidian allows us to not only capture the carbon emissions from the biogas but also to recover two high value products – graphene and hydrogen which could further contribute to societal carbon reduction.”

Donald Morrison, Jacobs People & Places Solutions Senior Vice President for Europe and Digital Strategies, added: “This is a fantastic opportunity to be at the forefront of hydrogen innovation and help move our sector to low and zero carbon energy generation and towards a circular economy. At Jacobs we’re committed to driving forward new ways within the energy transition, and it’s exciting to be involved in this project which has significant potential to find a sustainable way to contribute to carbon emission reductions.”

Commenting on the overall funding for biomass projects, Energy Minister Greg Hands, said: “Accelerating home-grown renewables like biomass is a key part of ending our dependency on expensive and volatile fossil fuels.

“This £37 million of government investment will support innovation across the UK, boosting jobs whilst ensuring greater energy security for years to come.”

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