A new research effort will address the challenges of using wastewater as a feedstock for hydrogen production, which would consume the equivalent of 1.6 million people’s current water use if Australia met the production target in its 2030 National Hydrogen Strategy.
The ARC Linkage grant-funded Sustainable Hydrogen Production from Used Water project is led by Monash University researchers with Southeast Water, Melbourne Water, Yarra Valley Water and Water Corporation, through Water Research Australia (WaterRA.)
Among work will be the development of guidelines for electrolysers that can handle residual impurities left after treatment, understanding how such leftover contaminants affect electrolyser operation, and improvements to current wastewater treatment plants, said Dr Arash Zamyadi from partner investigator WaterRA.
“There still remains a knowledge gap in how the impurities affect water electrolyser design and process operation,” added Zamyadi.
Splitting enough hydrogen from water to meet Australia’s 2030 production target would require significant energy and water — at least 5.5 billion litres annually or the consumption of 1.6 million Australians.
“The amount of wastewater currently available for use is far more than the amount of water required in water electrolysis for hydrogen production,” said Monash Chemical Engineering Professor Xiwang Zhang, who is also Director of the ARC Research Hub for Energy-efficient Separation,
“Most of the treated water throughout Australia is currently discharged to surrounding water bodies or recycled for irrigation after being treated in centralised municipal wastewater treatment plants. Given the volume of the treated water from these plants is highly consistent, it is a promising water source for water electrolysis.”
Picture: James Hardy
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