Dr Tim Patterson, one of the researcher involved in the project
Researchers from the University’s Sustainable Environment Research Centre have devised a biomethanation process that converts renewably generated hydrogen gas and surplus carbon dioxide (CO2) into ‘green’ methane, which can be immediately used as a fuel or further processed into other sustainable products.
The ability to biologically produce methane from renewable hydrogen and excess carbon dioxide - a greenhouse gas - has the potential to make a step change in the way in which energy grids across the world are operated. The technology can be applied to gas and electricity grids, leading to a significant increase in energy storage capacity and enabling more deployment of renewable power generation schemes.
Plus, capturing and utilising just 10% of the CO2 currently produced by the power and industrial sectors in the UK alone would produce methane gas with a value of over £1BN per year.
As well as enabling the recycling of CO2, the biomethanation process would provide economic benefits across a broad supply chain leading to innovation opportunities for existing engineering, manufacturing and instrumentation companies, and the potential to develop new specialist support services, all of which will lead to skilled employment opportunities.
The University is collaborating with a number of companies on the development of the technology including Tata Steel Europe, NiTech Solutions Ltd and BPE Design and Support Ltd. The research has led to an international patent application and the process has been trademarked. The University is currently exploring opportunities to fully commercialise the technology.
Research projects that have contributed to the development of the process have been supported by Innovate UK, BEIS and the European Regional Development Fund / Welsh Government SMART Expertise programme, in addition to industrial collaborators.
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