University of Canterbury researchers developing carbon-neutral/negative green hydrogen

July 8, 2021 |

In New Zealand, University of Canterbury engineering researchers are developing a carbon-neutral – even carbon-negative – way to create clean ‘green’ hydrogen to power our world more sustainably. They are focusing on using renewable biomass – such as tree and plant waste from New Zealand’s forestry and agriculture sectors – to make green hydrogen. This clean energy source can be used to replace fossil fuels, including coal and natural gas, for transport, industry use, and heating our homes.

The University of Canterbury Engineering researchers are developing breakthrough Deep Tech platforms to produce green hydrogen using local renewables, specifically biomass resources, solar energy, and water, through innovative design and integration of biomass gasification and thermochemical water-splitting with CO2 capture and sequestration through mineralization.

The project aims to increase the hydrogen yield through the integration of CO2 capture during the gas processing that tunes equilibrium chemistry to drive improved reaction efficiencies in biomass gasification with thermochemical water-splitting.

There are other potential positive impacts. Iwi and their corporations have significant interests in forestry resources and industry, including seeking high value uses that enhance kaitiakitanga. The UC researchers aim to include tangata whenua, especially forest owners, in the advisory committee to realize these cultural and economic benefits. A significant shift in renewable fuels development will also enable fossil fuel-intensive industries and exporters to achieve low-emission products at a low cost. In addition, this process will substitute significant fossil fuel imports for local produce, use local renewable and sustainable resources, and return the waste sustainably to the land while helping clean up the environment.

The research has been supported by MBIE with a NZ$1 million Smart Ideas grant in the 2019 Endeavour Funding round.

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