Processing Magazine

Verification tests for bio-hydrogen production from sewage sludge start

September 18, 2012

TOKYO — The HIT Business Research Group has commenced verification tests for a new technology using sewage sludge to produce hydrogen.

The HIT Business Research Group targets conversion of biomass (disposed sewage sludge) into hydrogen, as a substitute for fossil fuels, utilizing JBEC’s proprietary biomass gas BLUE Tower technology.The introduction of BLUE Tower technology to sewage treatment plants will facilitate supply of hydrogen to fuel cell vehicles (FCV) and stationary fuel cells (FC), which are forecasted to increase significantly in the future, thereby contributing to actualization of a sustainable society and urban development based on a low carbon economy.

The HIT Business Research Group has commenced verification tests using sewage sludge to generate bio-hydrogen at JBEC’s BLUE Tower new technology plant located at its development center in Izumo City, Shimane Prefecture.

Past small scale tests have shown that the BLUE Tower technology is successful in converting sewage sludge into gas with high hydrogen concentration, thereby confirming the potential of sewage sludge as a raw material of bio-hydrogen.

Through test runs at the verification plant, methodology and production of bio-hydrogen will be substantiated and followed by studies for a commercial scale bio-hydrogen production plant and a model business structure.

One of the main features of the BLUE Tower is its use of alumina balls as a heat carrier. In the pyrolyzer, biomass material (woodchips, sewage sludge, etc.) is brought into contact with high temperature alumina balls to generate biogases such as methane.

Biogas is further heated by alumina balls and steam, and converted to gas with higher concentrations of hydrogen. Circulation of the alumina balls is highly efficient in heating core components and also effective in preventing and making controllable common plant equipment problems such as blockage caused by tar.