Partners to convert waste sewage into hydrogen

Article by Amanda Jasi

Organics Group, Severn Trent, and researchers at Coventry University, UK, are collaborating to convert sewage waste into clean hydrogen fuel for tankers and other vehicles.

Currently, water company Severn Trent destroys waste ammonia present in sewage due to its toxicity. Work with Coventry and Organics could see this ammonia made into a valuable product.

Within the project, Organics will be responsible for developing an ammonia-stripping unit to recover the compound from waste at a Severn Trent sewage treatment facility. Organics is primarily an engineering, procurement, and construction contractor but also supplies bespoke specialty process units.

Researchers at Coventry will work to form a purified electrolyte from ammonia that could then be processed to create nitrogen and hydrogen gas.

If trials are successful, Severn Trent could recover up to 10,000 t/y of ‘green’ ammonia from wastewater treatment plants, that could be converted into 450 t/y of hydrogen. John Graves, Associate Professor at Coventry’s Institute for Future Transport and Cities, explained that the hydrogen has a number of useful applications, including as a potential fuel for heavy vehicles that may not be suited to battery electrification.

The project is part of Resilient Water Innovation for Smart Economy (REWAISE), a €15m (US$17.8m) EU-funded initiative, involving a consortium of 24 research and water industry entities, working to develop a sustainable, carbon-neutral water cycle. Severn Trent and Coventry University are both consortium members.

Article by Amanda Jasi

Staff reporter, The Chemical Engineer

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