Biomass and waste could be a valuable source of hydrogen, the government has said, as it launched a programme to maximise that potential.

Launched recently, the Hydrogen Beccs Innovation Programme will support the development of technologies to generate hydrogen via Beccs (bioenergy with carbon capture and storage). The Beccs process produces hydrogen from biomass and waste, with the ability to capture and store the carbon released during the process.

“Hydrogen Beccs technologies… have a key role to play on the UK’s path to net zero emissions, providing hydrogen as a clean fuel for hard-to-decarbonise sectors such as transport and heavy industry, while also removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere,” a government announcement said.

Companies, research institutions and universities can now bid for up to £250,000 from £5m government funding as part of the programme’s first phase, aimed at developing plans and demonstrating their feasibility. A second phase will provide further funding to the most promising projects.

The programme aims to support development of technology solutions across three categories: feedstock pre-processing, to optimise biomass and waste for use in gasification technologies; gasification components, thermal conversion technologies that can convert biomass or waste into hydrogen, methane, aviation fuel, diesel or other hydrocarbons; and novel biohydrogen technologies that can be combined with carbon capture, such as dark fermentation, anaerobic digestion and wastewater treatment.

The new programme “will be crucial in supporting this new type of technology to be developed and scaled up for commercialisation here in the UK, helping the nation on the path to net zero while also providing new green jobs and encouraging private investment,” the government announcement said.

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