New tech turns manure into hydrogen

New tech turns manure into hydrogen

Business Management
HIGH-TECH HYDROGEN: A technology being developed in Germany would allow the production of hydrogen fuel from animal manure.

HIGH-TECH HYDROGEN: A technology being developed in Germany would allow the production of hydrogen fuel from animal manure.

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A German company Graforce has developed a unique technology, called plasmalysis, by which green hydrogen can be produced from animal and human excrement and renewable energy.

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A German company Graforce has developed a unique technology, called plasmalysis, by which green hydrogen can be produced from animal and human excrement and renewable energy.

Unlike conventional methods, plasmalysis uses the nitrogen and carbon compounds (e.g. ammonium) contained in manure or other biomass from humans and animals to produce hydrogen. These are split into individual atoms by a high-frequency field of tension a so-called plasma. The atoms then recombine to form green hydrogen and nitrogen, whereby purified water is left behind as a "waste" product.

The production of hydrogen by using plasmalysis is not only free of carbon dioxide, but also 50-60 per cent less expensive than conventional processes such as electrolysis, in which distilled water is split into oxygen and hydrogen by consuming more energy.

"Hydrogen from faeces has huge energy potential," Graforce founder and managing director Dr Jens Hanke said.

"With plasmalysis, we can produce enormous amounts of green hydrogen from organic residues. If we use this as fuel, we obtain not only incredible amounts of CO2-free energy, but also save enormous quantities of CO2 and make a major contribution to climate protection."

Agriculture produces about 1.5 trillion cubic meters of biomass (liquid manure) worldwide every year. It contains high-energy organic residues from which Graforce said could produce 724 million tonnes of green hydrogen using plasmalysis technology.

This would save 6.5 gigatonnes of CO2 or 18pc of global emissions caused by energy generation and consumption worldwide. Hydrogen can be used as fuel in fuel cells and hydrogen compressed natural gas vehicles or in combined heat and power units.

Nitrogen is also an important process gas that is required in many industrial sectors worldwide.

Graforce has been working on the future of energy supply since 2010. At its Power2X plant in Berlin, Graforce is already producing hydrogen using the plasmalysis technology developed in-house.

Producing hydrogen from high-energy chemical compounds in wastewater halves fuel production costs and results in significantly higher yields.

Article supplied by Gaforce, website www.graforce.de.

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