US DOE funds two new biomass-to-hydrogen projects

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The US Department of Energy (DOE) has allocated $52.5 million (€44.3 million) to fund 31 projects to advance next-generation clean hydrogen technologies, including two biomass-to-hydrogen ventures.

The fund forms part of the DOE’s recently announced Hydrogen Energy Earthshot initiative, designed to reduce the cost and accelerate breakthroughs in the clean hydrogen sector.

Hydrogen is a clean fuel that, when combined with oxygen in a fuel cell, produces electricity with water and heat as by-products. Hydrogen can be produced from a variety of resources, such as biomass, natural gas, nuclear power, solar and wind. These qualities make it an attractive fuel option and input for transportation, electricity generation, and industrial applications, such as in trucks, buildings, and manufacturing.

These 31 projects will focus on bridging technical gaps in hydrogen production, storage, distribution and utilisation technologies, including fuel cells, paving the way toward decarbonisation of the electricity sector by 2035 and the creation of well-paid jobs across the hydrogen sector.

“Part of our path to a net-zero carbon future means investing in innovation to make clean energy sources like hydrogen more affordable and widely adopted so we can reach out goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2030,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm.

“These projects will put us one step closer to unlocking the scientific advancements needed to create a strong domestic supply chain and good-paying jobs in the emerging clean hydrogen industry.”

Two biomass-to-hydrogen projects are included in the funding round - Southern Company Services in Birmingham, Alabama, with a project described as ‘novel microbial electrolysis system for conversion of biowastes into low-cost renewable hydrogen’, which received $997,897 (€843,000), and Pennsylvania State University, with a project described as ‘novel microbial electrolysis cell design for efficient hydrogen generation from wastewaters’, which received $1 million (€845,000).