Coventry seeks to prove where there’s muck, there’s green fuel
22 Mar 2021
Coventry University researchers are working alongside water utility Severn Trent and the Organics Group to turn sewage waste into commercially viable clean fuel.
Severn Trent currently destroys the waste ammonia present in sewage due to its toxic properties but project aims to ensure it is captured and converted into hydrogen.
The benefits allow Severn Trent a more efficient method of processing ammoni, production of green fuel and a more circular approach to economic activity.
If trials are successful, Severn Trent has the potential to recover up to 10,000 tonnes of green ammonia from its wastewater treatment plants, which could be converted into 450 tonnes of hydrogen.
The Organics Group will be responsible for developing the ammonia-stripping unit that will recover the chemical from the sewage waste at Severn Trent’s facilities.
Coventry University researchers will then seek to convert this into hydrogen by forming a purified electrolyte from the ammonia, which could be processed to create nitrogen and hydrogen gas.
Associate professor at the Institute for Future Transport and Cities Dr John Graves, who is leading the university’s contribution explained the advantages of the work.
He said: “The project will enable us to demonstrate that ammonia, which to date has had to be regarded as a waste product, could be processed in a more environmentally-friendly manner with the benefit of producing hydrogen, which has a number of useful applications. These include its use as a potential fuel for heavy vehicles that may not be suited to battery electrification.”
The project forms part of the €15 million REWAISE initiative funded by the EU Horizon 2020 programme, a consortium of 24 organisations, providing expertise across the water management and academic sectors with the aim of developing a carbon-neutral water cycle.