Logan Energy is installing an electrolyser at a wastewater treatment plant operated by Anglian Water in Cambridgeshire as part of its ‘Triple Carbon Reduction’ project.
A shock to the wastewater treatment system
East Lothian-based Logan Energy is installing an electrolyser at a wastewater treatment plant operated by Anglian Water in Cambridgeshire as part of the utility’s ‘Triple Carbon Reduction’ project.
The plan is to explore using treated wastewater through an electrolyser to create hydrogen and oxygen.
The oxygen will then be used within the wastewater treatment process - Membrane Aerated Biofilm Reactor (MABR).
It will target the reduction of nitrous oxide which is a source of greenhouse gas emissions.
According to the companies, the hydrogen has the potential to be used for different cases, in fuel cells, to displace diesel generators, or for local transport applications.
“Unusually for electrolysis projects, this project will use both the oxygen and hydrogen produced.”
The project also aims to tackle resource recovery, without additional demand for drinking water resources and without compromising the water resilience needed to face climate change.
Anglian Water says the project will run until June 2024.
Process emissions are a key challenge for the water sector due to the difficulty to neutralise them.
By using an electrolyser to generate oxygen, Logan Energy said wastewater treatment processes will see a reduction in energy consumption of up to 85 per cent and a reduction in nitrous oxide process emissions.
“Unusually for electrolysis projects, this project will use both the oxygen and hydrogen produced, further increasing the efficiency of the overall process,” said Bill Ireland, chief executive of Logan Energy.
By using renewable energy at the treatment works, the hydrogen created by the electrolyser will be classed as green hydrogen, indicating it has not been made using fossil fuels.
Triple Carbon Reduction
In 2021, Anglian Water and its partners won funding from England and Wales water regulator Ofwat as part of its Water Breakthrough Challenge for two projects.
The second proposal Anglian Water and its partners put forward was the ‘Triple Carbon Reduction project’: using new technologies to target a step-change reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and electricity use, used in water treatment.
They aim to provide a new renewable energy source through green hydrogen production – 'triple carbon' synergy to contribute towards achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2030.
“This project will greatly support the delivery of the water sector’s drive to Net Zero by 2030.”
Giulia Pizzagalli, innovation projects manager at Anglian Water, said: "This project will greatly support the delivery of the water sector’s drive to Net Zero by 2030, by aiming to reduce nitrous oxide emissions, increase the energy efficiency of wastewater treatment processes and generate a new renewable energy source via electrolysis."
If this collaboration between Logan Energy and Anglian Water shows signs of a significant reduction in nitrous oxide process emissions, it could spark other applications for the use of electrolysers in the sector.
Logan says other utilities partnering in the project include Northern Ireland Water, Severn Trent, Scottish Water and United Utilities – all of which are expected to share the learnings.
Speaking on why Anglian Water choose Logan Energy, Pizzagalli said: "Their extensive expertise in the hydrogen sector will help our project advance the water sector’s position within the developing hydrogen landscape.”
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