University of Leeds researchers turn glycerol into hydrogen rich gas

Glycerol is a byproduct of biodiesel production and its disposal presents a growing economic and environmental problem. Now researchers at the University of Leeds have shown how glycerol can be converted into a hydrogen rich gas.

The novel process developed by Dr Valerie Dupont and her co-investigators in the University’s Faculty of Engineering mixes glycerol with steam at a controlled temperature and pressure, separating the waste product into hydrogen, water and carbon dioxide, with no residues. A special absorbent material filters out the carbon dioxide, which leaves a much purer product.

Dr Dupont had this to say:

Hydrogen has been identified as a key future fuel for low carbon energy systems such as power generation in fuel cells and as a transport fuel. Current production methods are expensive and unsustainable, using either increasingly scarce fossil fuel sources such as natural gas, or other less efficient methods such as water electrolysis.

Our process is a clean, renewable alternative to conventional methods. It produces something with high value from a low grade by-product for which there are few economical upgrading mechanisms. In addition, it’s a near ‘carbon-neutral’ process, since the CO2 generated is not derived from the use of fossil fuels.”

Dr Dupont believes the process is easily scalable to industrial production and could potentially be an economically important, sustainable – and environmentally friendly – way of meeting the growing demand for hydrogen.

Dr Dupont’s research has been funded with a £270,000 grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council under the Energy programme, and is in collaboration with Professors Yulong Ding and Mojtaba Ghadiri from the Institute of Particle Science and Engineering, and Professor Paul Williams from the Energy and Resources Research Institute at the University. Industrial collaborators are Johnson Matthey and D1-Oils.

Source: Leeds University via Hybrid Living


One Response

  1. I keep wondering why Dr Brown’s gas which I was fortunate to find a couple of months are ago are not mentioned in any intellectual discuss about alternative fuel.

    I am quite satisfied with the result I get, over 200% MPG over gas, clean without tailpipe emissions, does not require storage and regular gas or hydrogen station visits.

    Ironically I read that Water for gas has been around for over 90 years. Is there any inherent disadvantage in this technology?

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