Using wastewater to create hydrogen and oxygen

  • 17.10.2022
  • Envirotech Magazine

East Lothian-based Logan Energy is supplying and installing an electrolyser at a wastewater treatment plant in Cambridgeshire as part of a novel initiative being led by Anglian Water.

The project has significant potential to be scaled up, says the firm. The plan is to investigate putting treated wastewater through an electrolyser to create hydrogen and oxygen. The oxygen will then be used within a novel wastewater treatment process – Membrane Aerated Biofilm Reactor (MABR) – targeting the reduction of nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas.

An entry in the Ofwat Water Breakthrough Challenge, the Triple Carbon Reduction project, led by Anglian Water, aims to develop, and demonstrate a novel integrated solution.

The hydrogen could be put to different uses, such as in fuel cells, to displace diesel generators, or for local transport applications. Also, by investigating the use of treated wastewater, the project will help with identifying ways to avoid placing additional demand on drinking water resources. The project will run until June 2024.

Process emissions are a key priority for the water sector, as they are among the most difficult to tackle. It is hoped that by using an electrolyser to generate oxygen, wastewater treatment processes will see a reduction in energy consumption of up to 85% and a reduction in nitrous oxide process emissions.