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Visit at the Department for Industrial Furnaces and Heat Engineering, RWTH Aachen University

September 29th, 2020 | by

The Department for Industrial Furnaces and Heat Engineering at the RWTH Aachen University (IOB) is a research institute with focus on process and plant optimisation, high-temperature processes, flow simulations, gas analytics and many other topics for years. We are working in cooperation with many industrial companies within the scope of projects. Such cooperation can only work well if you have a great team by your side. The institute consists of Prof. Pfeifer as the head of the department, our research staff, our mechanical and electrical workshop, the IT department and the secretariat.

But what do we have to do with hydrogen?

As a research institute, we always work in a future-oriented way. That means that we naturally look at how we can apply our expertise to the energy transition and renewable energies. With that in mind, you immediately think about hydrogen in the transport sector.

For this reason, we have applied for a project to produce hydrogen from biogas together with Dr. Wünning of WS Wärmeprozesstechnik GmbH and a farm with biogas plant. The farm belongs to the family of one of our colleagues at the IOB, Max Schleupen, and we will visit them tomorrow morning. For this purpose, we want to investigate the production of “green” hydrogen from biogas in a pilot plant. The aim of the project is to develop a market-ready process for hydrogen production from biogas. The process can then be used at many locations where hydrogen can be produced from biogas. The hydrogen would be available on site to refuel cars, trucks and other vehicles. This would provide a sustainable alternative to steam reforming from natural gas.

The production process is even cheaper than producing hydrogen from electrolysis, which requires electricity. In this case, the electricity is of course only sustainable if it is generated by wind or solar power, for example. Biogas is also easier to store than electricity. For many operators of biogas plants, the production of hydrogen from biogas will therefore offer an economic alternative to the previous production of electricity and the production of methane from biogas.

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