ITQ researchers participate in a project that generates hydrogen energy from alcohol residues

The objective of the LIFE 15CCM / ES / 000080 Ecolectricity project in which ITQ researchers participate, Dr  Antonio Chica, Tenured Scientific and Dr Javier Da Costa, is producing hydrogen with alcoholic waste and generating electricity with it, fueling a fuel cell.

This demonstration project of Research and Development (R&D) has allowed a wine alcohol company in Cariñena, San Valero Distilleries, has become – say the promoters of the initiative – the first that generates hydrogen energy from waste from alcohol.

The project has the technical name of LIFE 15 CCM / ES / 00008 Electrocity, it was launched in 2016 and should be completed in December of this year, although the facilities were reviewed two weeks ago by a European delegation.

Since the presentation of the project, its promoters have added their knowledge and equipment to classify and treat the alcoholic fractions available for the use they wanted to give them, build a pilot plant based on catalytic reforming technologies, patented by the ITQ, to produce gaseous streams Rich in hydrogen, integrate the process with a fuel cell for the production of electricity and heat and evaluate the operation of the prototype.

This experimental project that started three years ago has a budget of one and a half million euros, financed at 60% by the EU Life program. The objective is to establish a technically and economically viable system to use the residues of alcoholic distillation as an energy source.

The essential raw materials are the so-called “purges”, the low quality alcoholic residues that are produced in the process of distillation of alcohols from the wine industry. In addition to wine, this industry also generates low-quality alcohols, which are those that are used to produce hydrogen that is subsequently transformed into electrical energy through a fuel cell.