Biohydrogen: A life cycle assessment and comparison with alternative low-carbon production routes in UK

UCL study: Biohydrogen: A life cycle assessment and comparison with alternative low-carbon production routes in UK. Main author: InnovEOX researcher Gema Amaya-SANTOS.

This study focuses on the production of hydrogen from municipal solid waste(MSW) for applications in transportation. A life cycle assessment (LCA) was conducted on a semi-commercial advanced gasification process for Biohydrogen(Bio-H2) production from MSW to evaluate its environmental impact on five impact categories: Climate Change, Acidification, Eutrophication Fresh Water, Ecotoxicity Freshwater and Photochemical Ozone Formation (human health). The biogenic composition of waste and the effect of carbon sequestration were analysed for Bio-H2, uncovering a net-negative carbon process. The counterfactual case of MSW incineration further bolsters the carbon savings associated to Bio-H2. The production of Bio-H2 from waste is proven to be competitive against alternative hydrogen productions routes, namely blue hydrogen (Blue-H2) produced via steam methane reforming/autothermal reforming coupled with carbon capture and storage (CCS), and green hydrogen (Green-H2) from solar and offshore wind, with respect to climate change. These climate change advantages are shown to carry forward in the context of decarbonisation of electricity grid mix, as analysed by scenarios taken for 2030 and ‘net-zero’ 2050.

Full reference paper

G. Amaya-Santos, S. Chari, A. Sebastiani, F. Grimaldi, P. Lettieri, M. Materazzi, Biohydrogen: A life cycle assessment and comparison with alternative low-carbon production routes in UK, Journal of Cleaner Production, 2021, DOI:10.1016/j.jclepro.2021.128886

Acknowledgements

This project has received funding from the European Union’s EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation Horizon 2020 under Grant Agreement No 861369.

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