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WtEnergy transforms bio-waste into green hydrogen: the HYIELD Project

biowaste into green hydrogen

Authors: Andrés Ponce, CEO of WTEnergy Advanced Solutions in collaboration from Antoni Crous, co-founder. An article published in Demosh2 “Descarbonització Mobilitat Sostenible Hidrogen Verd”.

Bio-Waste Gasification: An Efficient Solution

The future of energy demands innovative and sustainable solutions. In this context, the HYIELD project, led by WtEnergy Advanced Solutions, represents a significant step towards transforming waste into green hydrogen. This article explores how WtEnergy converts bio-waste into a clean, efficient, and economically viable energy source, comparing the costs with the electrolysis process.

WtEnergy’s technology utilizes an innovative multi-stage steam gasification and syngas purification demonstration plant for converting bio-waste into hydrogen. This solution addresses the combined challenges of converting bio-waste into hydrogen, optimizing the efficiency and yield of H2 while ensuring reliability and financial competitiveness.

One of the major advantages of this technology is its ability to overcome the current barriers in the development of waste-to-hydrogen solutions. Additionally, this solution is designed to be scalable, from small to medium applications to large plants, offering distributed waste management and hydrogen production solutions for regions with limited waste solutions.

Key Objectives of the HYIELD Project

The process developed in the HYIELD project aims to achieve six key objectives:

  1. Higher Energy Conversion Efficiency: more than 64% of the total input energy will be converted into H2 energy, ensuring a higher H2 yield of more than 0.16 kg of H2 per kg of dry biomass. This is achieved by maximizing the H2/C ratio through the optimization of steam, oxygen, temperature parameters, along with optimal heat recirculation within a multi-stage approach.
  2. H2 Purity: the plant will produce H2 with a purity greater than 99.97%, suitable for all applications except fuel cells.
  3. Material Flexibility: a wide variety of raw materials can be used, including waste and agricultural residues with complex ashes, with a calorific potential ranging from 2 to 5 kWh/kg.
  4. Reduced Cost: the project’s goal is to achieve a leveled cost of 2.19 €/kg, approximately half of what can be achieved with the best available electrolysis technology.
  5. Scalable Design: the plant is designed to be highly scalable, from 10,000 tons annually onward, offering waste management and clean energy generation solutions for remote and rural areas. The pilot plant capacity will be 3MW (LHV of the dry biomass entering the plant), equivalent to 568 kg/h of dry biomass and a hydrogen production of 95 kg/H2. Assuming an operation of 4,000 hours per year (the same operational period goal for the demonstrator), the plant would process 2,272 tons of dry biomass and produce 650 kg/H2.
  6. Waste Heat Utilization: the plant will be capable of utilizing low and medium temperature residual heat (150-600°C) to increase energy conversion efficiency and hydrogen yield.

This technology, developed within the framework of the HYIELD project, represents a unique opportunity to convert waste into a clean, sustainable, and economically viable energy source. WtEnergy is leading the way towards a cleaner and more efficient energy future, providing innovative solutions that contribute to the transition to a more sustainable energy system.

Efficiency and Sustainability in Green Hydrogen Production and CO2 Capture: HYIELD Technology vs. Electrolysis

In addition to the advantages mentioned in the article, HYIELD technology, led by WtEnergy, offers an interesting comparison with the electrolysis process in terms of energy efficiency and CO₂ capture.

The HYIELD process has a lower total energy consumption than electrolysis, as well as higher CO₂ capture per ton of biomass processed.

Firstly, in terms of energy consumption, electrolysis requires approximately 60 kWh of electrical energy per kg of hydrogen produced, while the HYIELD process uses a total of 50 kWh per kg of hydrogen, including both electrical and thermal energy. This demonstrates higher energy efficiency in the HYIELD process.

Regarding CO₂ capture, HYIELD technology offers notable effectiveness in CO₂ capture. With high-purity hydrogen production, the HYIELD process ensures a CO₂-rich captured stream, equivalent to 1810 kg of CO₂ per ton of dry biomass processed. This represents a significant mitigation of CO₂ emissions, with an estimate of nearly 4200 tons of CO₂ avoided annually, based on an operational time of 4000 hours per year.

These results highlight the promise and potential of the HYIELD process compared to electrolysis in terms of energy efficiency and CO₂ emission reduction. With a lower carbon footprint and more efficient energy consumption, HYIELD technology emerges as an attractive option for producing green hydrogen from biomass, contributing to the transition to a more sustainable and clean energy future.

Considerable Savings

Hydrogen production from biomass offers an economical and sustainable alternative to electrolysis. Compared to the current cost of hydrogen produced by electrolysis, which is approximately 4.38 € per kilogram, the HYIELD project proposes a leveled cost of hydrogen (LCOH) of only 2.19 € per kilogram. This represents a significant saving of 2.19 € per kilogram of hydrogen produced from biomass. This cost difference reflects the efficiency and economic viability of converting waste into green hydrogen, making this technology an attractive option for producing clean and sustainable energy.

The Future is Green

The future of the hydrogen market is bright, with projections indicating significant growth and transformation. According to a BloombergNEF report, global hydrogen demand could increase more than fivefold by 2050, reaching approximately 8.3 exajoules (EJ) annually. A McKinsey report states that the global hydrogen market could reach an annual value of 2.5 trillion dollars by 2050, representing approximately 18% of total final energy demand.

This growth is driven by several factors, including increased adoption of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, expansion of hydrogen-based industrial processes, and the development of hydrogen infrastructure for energy storage, grid balancing, and a growing recognition of hydrogen’s role in decarbonizing hard-to-abate sectors. Additionally, investments in hydrogen-related projects are on the rise, with the International Energy Agency estimating that global investments in hydrogen-related technologies could exceed 300 billion dollars by 2030.

As governments, industries, and investors continue to prioritize decarbonization efforts, the hydrogen market is expected to play a crucial role in the transition to a low-carbon economy, offering solutions to address energy security, climate change, and economic growth challenges.

With companies like WtEnergy driving innovation and increasing green hydrogen production, they are poised to capture a significant share of this expanding market, contributing to the transition to a sustainable energy future.

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