Using commercially available hardware, Chemergy’s processes employ two proven thermodynamic ‘shortcuts’ that reduce the energy and capital cost of producing renewable hydrogen and heat. In processing biowaste, the two ‘shortcuts’ have been successfully demonstrated.
Feedstock for the process includes waste-water, paper, wood & crop residuals, municipal solid waste, sewage and manure; virtually any organic biowaste. The amount of hydrogen produced depends on the feedstock, but one-ton of biosolids consisting of 40% waste-water, 40% cellulosic organics and 20% inorganics will produce 200 lb. of hydrogen with the Btu equivalent of 90 gallons of gasoline and co-provide 7 million Btu of 175 Celsius thermal energy.
Biowaste is ubiquitous, noxious, and an environmental and economic burden that requires treatment and disposal, but also contains a renewable fuel-rich remnant of stored solar energy. Using biowaste as feedstock, the Chemergy process will efficiently and economically produce renewable hydrogen, non-anthropogenic carbon dioxide, and heat. The Chemergy biowaste-to-hydrogen technology promises a paradigm-shift over conventional biofuel production.
First, at moderate temperatures and pressures the reactions are fast, the product yield is high, and significant thermal energy is released. This minimizes the size of equipment and allows using the co-produced heat. Secondly, the chemical bonds requiring energy to free hydrogen are weak, requiring less than half the energy than what the hydrogen will produce when burned with oxygen. This further reduces the capital and energy required over conventional methods of hydrogen production.
Chemergy does not require large-volume, slow organic processing that requires ‘bugs’ (anaerobic digestion, fermentation, etc.), which are susceptible to process up-sets or toxins (sulfur, etc.) that kill the organism needed to produce the biofuel. Chemergy also avoids the high temperatures and resulting expense needed in gasification or pyrolysis processing.
The maturity and timeliness of Chemergy’s technologies enables a shift from research and development to pre-commercial prototype demonstrations and technology licensing. This transition allows the commercial exploitation of intellectual property providing new economic opportunities with profitable clean technologies that will reduce the country’s annual $400 billion dependence on imported oil and $20 billion expenditure in waste disposal and treatment.