Leading resource management company, Veolia, is advancing its programme to create the hydrogen gas supply infrastructure and decarbonise the UK energy supply. Believed to be the first application of its type in the UK, the company's latest development is now managing projects which incorporate electrolyser technology to derive hydrogen from water, and powering these using the low carbon electricity from its Energy Recovery Facilities (ERF).
Future use of the hydrogen could include both replacing the use of fossil fuel on the gas grid and alternative zero carbon vehicle fuel for commercial vehicles. For many years, methane gas has been used to heat homes and businesses, and used in power stations to generate electricity. As a result currently 85% of homes and 40% of the UK’s electricity rely on gas. But when methane burns it still releases carbon, which contributes to climate change.
Veolia's projects will accelerate progress towards climate protection and a net zero future, by replacing fossil fuels and realising the potential to decarbonise heat in industry, businesses and homes, and provide vehicle fuels. By using electrolysis, the process which uses electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen, it could create hydrogen that can be stored for future energy needs. This will cut carbon emissions, and is a potential future solution for decarbonisation as water is the by-product when hydrogen is used. The gas industry is testing ways to use hydrogen in the gas grid, and Veolia is already preparing sites to be able to use this hydrogen in a range of on-site energy plants such as combined heat and power units, and industrial boiler plant.
Donald MacPhail, Chief Operating Officer – Treatment, said: “Reducing carbon emissions and slowing environmental change is now a priority. By developing new ways of generating zero carbon hydrogen we have the potential of covering the energy needs of our modern lives, and stopping the climate damaging impact of CO2. This represents a real step forward on the route to a net-zero world.”
Veolia currently operates ten plants that take around 2.3 million tonnes of non-recyclable waste and transform this into electricity for over 400,000 homes. This combined generating capacity of 180MWe takes pressure off the stretched UK electrical grid and effectively avoids using fossil fuels for generation.
Waste to hydrogen will be discussed at the 2022 EfW Conference with Andrew Cornell, CEO, ABSL, and Dr Thom Koller, Energy Networks Association giving talks on hydrogen production and carbon capture. This will be accompanied by a planned plant visit to one of ABSL's waste-based biofuel sites during the event.
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