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£1m biomass project launches in Scotland

Raffaella Ocone is leading the research at Heriot-Watt University
Raffaella Ocone is leading the research at Heriot-Watt University's Institute of Geoenergy Engineering
A partnership between Heriot-Watt University and Malaysian oil and gas company Petronas has been launched in Edinburgh, to develop cost-effective technologies for the production of hydrogen from agricultural and animal waste.
The £1 million research project will initially focus on utilising the estimated four million tonnes of waste and by-products created by distilleries in the UK and the approximately 127 million tonnes of agriculture waste generated annually in Malaysia.
It will operate under Petronas Centre of Excellence in Subsurface Engineering and Energy Transition (PACESET), one of the three global technology centres set up by the energy giant.
Hydrogen produced from biomass such as agricultural and industrial waste is seen as a key contributor to the transition to net zero energy, but current production and storage methods face multiple challenges when operating at a large scale.
The academic team will also explore storage solutions aiming to utilise depleted oil wells for pure hydrogen storage, without the need to add natural gas for stability.
“Our research will initially develop new technologies to process and create hydrogen from different biomass waste products, completing a circular economy pathway and producing higher volumes than those currently achievable from existing production methods," said Raffaella Ocone, who is leading the research at the university's Institute of Geoenergy Engineering.
“Our focus will be on technology that can scale because hydrogen remains a small contributor to our overall energy mix. For net zero ambitions to be met, this needs to change rapidly.”
Gboyega Bishop Falope, head of research at Petronas, added: “We are confident this research will elevate the contribution hydrogen can make as part of the world’s energy mix, and to be part of the holistic solution that brings forth a sustainable future.”
Raffaella Ocone is leading the research at Heriot-Watt University's Institute of Geoenergy Engineering






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