Hydrogen for Industry (H24I) – Feature 1: Hydrogen from Waste

By Michael Harrison, Ashurst Senior Partner, Energy, Resources and Infrastructure

As the world moves to cleaner energy sources, it is clear that this transition remains high on the social, regulatory, political and investor agenda. At Ashurst, our Global Towards Net-Zero team is committed to supporting this evolution through providing updates, tailored insights and strategic advice.

The Hydrogen for Industry (H24I) feature takes a detailed look at an industry or sector, or part of it, and the role of hydrogen in that industry or sector. It complements the other initiatives the Ashurst Global Towards Net-Zero team produces, including Low Carbon Pulse which provides an update on significant current news on progress towards net-zero GHG emissions; and the Shift to Hydrogen (S2H2) which provides a more detailed review of matters of general application to all industries.

Since late 2017, a number of countries have released road-maps, plans and strategies outlining how their economies might transition from the use of fossil fuels as energy carriers, to the use of hydrogen (H2) as an energy carrier, and how government and business might work together to develop a hydrogen economy (being an economy in which clean hydrogen is used as an energy carrier, shifting to clean hydrogen produced from GHG free, or GHG sequestered, sources). The momentum towards the use of hydrogen as an energy carrier has increased dramatically in the past 12 months, and appears increasingly likely to be critical as part of progress towards net-zero with the use of CH₄-rich wastewater and the organic fraction of waste streams as a feedstock to derive and to produce hydrogen.

On May 18, 2021, the International Energy Agency (IEA) released a publication entitled “Net Zero by 2050, A Roadmap for the Global Energy Sector” (IEA Special Report). The IEA Special Report focuses on the Energy Sector. The Energy Sector includes bioenergy, which includes deriving or producing energy from waste, what the IEA refers to as advanced bioenergy. The use of wastewater and waste to derive and to produce hydrogen greatly increases the potential of bioenergy.

This H24I feature is divided into two sections:

  • Section 1 – On the Road to Net-Zero: providing background on the GHG emissions that arise from wastewater and waste, the type of wastewater and waste used as a feedstock to derive or to produce hydrogen, the characterisation and colour of hydrogen used to describe hydrogen derived and produced from wastewater and waste, and an introduction to the technologies used to derive or to produce hydrogen; and
  • Section 2 – From Wastewater and Waste to Energy Carrier to Oxidation: providing background on hydrogen, the production and use of hydrogen as an energy carrier, and, in this context, the energy content of hydrogen compared to other energy carriers, such as diesel and motor spirit (gasoline and petrol), and more detail on thermo-chemistry.

Click on the link to read and download the full article, available on member firm Ashurst's website: https://www.ashurst.com/en/news-and-insights/insights/hydrogen-for-industry--h24i/.