WA project to covert wastewater biogas into hydrogen and graphite

A project to produce low-emission hydrogen and graphite from sewage at a wastewater treatment plant in Western Australia has been given the green-light.

According to Water Minister Dave Kelly, Western-Australian based technology company Hazer Group plan to use biogas for its hydrogen and graphite production process.

“Excess gas produced during the wastewater treatment process is currently burned off but this innovative technology will instead use it to create low-emission hydrogen and graphite,” he said.

“This will help decarbonise the Water Corporation’s operations to further support its sustainability objectives, while generating additional revenue and staff training opportunities.”

The three-year operation at Woodman Point Wastewater Treatment Plant in Munster will produce around 100 tonnes of fuel-grade hydrogen and 380 tonnes of graphite each year, Kelly said, with potential for expansion.

Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan said the technology will capitalise on biogas waste product – primarily composed of methane and carbon dioxide – which is released during the wastewater treatment process as solid matter (biosolids) breaks down.

“While most of this renewable fuel is currently used to produce electricity for the treatment plant, the excess is usually burned off – now it will be converted into valuable materials using an iron ore catalyst,” she said.

Hydrogen has a wide range of industrial and commercial uses, including vehicle fuel and chemical feedstock. Additionally, graphite has potential for a number of industrial applications, such as the production of lithium-ion batteries, water purification and advanced materials.

“Hydrogen is an increasingly important renewable fuel source, and this world-leading project will showcase our state’s capability in the hydrogen industry through the commercialisation of a technology developed right here in WA,” MacTiernan said.

“This initiative represents an important first step towards kick-starting renewable hydrogen production capacity and driving the use of zero-emissions transport fuel for buses, heavy trucking, waste collection and light vehicle fleets.”

The technology was developed at the University of Western Australia before being acquired by Hazer Group.

In partnership with the City of Mandurah, Hazer Group is also exploring plans to establish Western Australia’s first refuelling infrastructure hub, with a grant from the Western Australia Renewable Hydrogen Fund.

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