Wales & West Utilities has embarked on a feasibility study exploring a new technique to produce low-carbon hydrogen from wastewater with funding from Ofgem’s Strategic Innovation Fund.
The company is partnering with hydrogen firm Hydrostar to develop a low-carbon electrolyser system that requires a lower quality of water to produce green hydrogen.
Currently, green hydrogen is produced through electrolysis that requires purified water and green electricity. The feasibility study will explore how using less pure water, primarily harvested rainwater, could lower operational barriers and reduce costs for green hydrogen production.
Hydrogen is considered green when it is produced from renewable power from wind or sunshine through electrolysis. Green hydrogen can replace natural gas and other fossil fuels and play a role in energy, transport, heat provision, and hard-to-decarbonize industries.
The project is expected to deliver many benefits, including cost reductions to customers and significant water and carbon savings. The project will also consider initial options for deploying the technology across the south-west of England.
The project is part of Wales & West Utilities’ £400m investment between 2021 and 2026 to deliver a Net Zero ready gas network by 2035 while looking after the most vulnerable in communities across Wales and south-west England. The company operates the gas emergency service, connects new homes and businesses, and upgrades the gas network to be safe today and fit for the future.
The project is funded by energy network users and consumers through the Strategic Innovation Fund, a program from the UK’s independent energy regulator Ofgem managed in partnership with Innovate UK.
The feasibility study, which runs until June 2023, seeks to address the challenges facing the electrolysis process in green hydrogen production, particularly the high cost of producing purified water and green electricity. The low-carbon electrolyser system has the potential to significantly reduce the cost of producing green hydrogen.
One of the primary goals of the project is to reduce the carbon emissions associated with traditional hydrogen production methods. Hydrogen produced from renewable sources is a key component of the UK’s target to reach Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050.
The project has the potential to help decarbonize hard-to-abate sectors, such as transportation and heating, that are difficult to transition away from fossil fuels.
The feasibility study will also explore the potential to deploy the technology across the south-west of England. If successful, the project could play a significant role in the region’s transition to a low-carbon economy.
In conclusion, Wales & West Utilities’ exploration of low-carbon hydrogen production from wastewater is a significant step towards achieving the UK’s Net Zero carbon emissions target by 2050. The feasibility study will explore the potential to reduce the cost of producing green hydrogen while reducing carbon emissions associated with traditional production methods. The project has the potential to contribute to the decarbonization of hard-to-abate sectors and play a crucial role in the transition to a low-carbon economy in the south-west of England.