CATAGEN receives £4.9m from UK government for biohydrogen reactor project
Having already built a prototype Biohydrogen Generator and successfully completed feasibility studies in real-world industrial settings, including at the Mannok Cement Plant in Ballyconnell, this funding will enable CATAGEN to deliver a full-scale demonstrator by 2025, according to the firm.
Hydrogen from renewable sources is widely considered to be one of the most important zero carbon fuels that will increasingly phase out fossil fuels, said the company.
Hydrogen is also crucial for several other net zero technologies and fuels including e-fuels which will be critical for the most difficult-to-decarbonise sectors, such as heavy-duty diesel, aviation, and marine, it continued.
CATAGEN said the funding will support new high-skilled green jobs in the region, with CATAGEN expected to grow its team by at least 50% over the next two years.
Local suppliers and contractors will also benefit from further upskilling as the company expands its headquarters in the historic Titanic Quarter.
This latest government funding is part of a broader £21 million (€24.5 million) package to support innovation in hydrogen bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) technologies in the UK.
Dr Andrew Woods, CEO and co-founder of CATAGEN, said: “CATAGEN has been on an amazing journey over the past year, not only has our core business expanded its emissions testing work but we have rapidly innovated five new net zero technologies with the support from the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero.
"This funding award allows us to move into our next phase of development for the ClimaHtech BIOHGEN system, recruiting more engineers as we accelerate our journey to clean and decarbonise the air.
"I’m also pleased to announce that working collaboratively with Joe O’Neill, CEO and his team at Belfast Harbour, we will site the first BIOHGEN system in the Harbour Estate and grow the size of CATAGEN’s footprint.
"This provides massive opportunity for the early adoption of low-carbon hydrogen to decarbonise transport or heavy industry at a focal point in Belfast, as part of Belfast Harbour’s Green Port Strategy.”
In Phase 1 of this project, CATAGEN developed an initial prototype Reactor and has proven the feasibility of a low-cost solution, capable of delivering high quantities of biohydrogen within the next few years, well ahead of 2030 targets and well in advance of widespread, low-cost green hydrogen production from electrolysis.
CATAGEN said its novel approach requires less capital investment and much lower production costs. GHG (Greenhouse Gas) emissions are also net zero with the bioCO2 produced being used to further displace fossil CO2 currently used in several industries.
This Phase 2 funding and development of this low-cost, effective technology, and the subsequent commercialisation offer the multiple benefits of low cost biohydrogen, fast ramp up of production, bioCO2 replacing fossil CO2 and all produced from what is currently a biomass waste product.
Minister for Energy Security and Net Zero Graham Stuart said: “The great manufacturers of our country are striving to cut their carbon emissions and their energy bills – and in turn, support our efforts to boost our energy security.
"Our investment of over £80 million will help them to go further and faster, using the latest science, technologies, and new energy sources to cut ties with fossil fuels and futureproof their industries.”