Green hydrogen is a key ingredient towards the decarbonisation of the European economy. ANEMEL, a new project funded by the European Innovation Council, will explore new methods to generate green hydrogen from low-quality water sources, such as seawater and wastewater. With a total budget of almost €5 million – of which €2.96 million come from the EIC – ANEMEL will develop efficient electrolysers and expedite the design of prototypes during the next four years. Altogether, the project will catalyse the commercialisation and exploitation of the technology.
The project fits within a bigger initiative by the European Commission to design and test novel routes towards the production of green hydrogen. Obtained by splitting water into its basic elements – hydrogen and oxygen – using renewable energy sources, green hydrogen could replace fossil fuels in transportation and industry. Moreover, it provides a cleaner raw material for the chemical industry – where green hydrogen could lead to more sustainable fertilisers, feedstocks and fundamental materials like steel.
In particular, ANEMEL will gather expertise in the field of membranes and electrolysers – the overall goal is a prototype that yields green hydrogen from low-grade water with minimal treatments. Additionally, the oxygen obtained could find uses in the treatment and purification of the water sources. The membranes designed by ANEMEL will avoid using persistent and pollutant products like poly-fluorinated materials, as well as critical raw materials – favouring the use of abundant metals like nickel and iron. All this will reduce the cost of the electrolyser components and improve their recyclability, thus reducing waste and providing a competitive advantage.
ANEMEL gathers experts from academic institutions, research facilities, technological centres, SMEs and industries. While academic researchers represent the forefront of European innovation in the field of green hydrogen and catalysis, the industrial partners are world leaders in the development and assembly of membranes, with vast expertise in large-scale electrolyser technologies. Together, the ANEMEL consortium will surely stimulate technology transfer and exploitation.
“We’re thrilled to kick-off ANEMEL after months of preparations and planning. I’m convinced we’ve reunited the perfect team to design efficient electrolysers to produce green hydrogen directly from low-quality waters, which will offer unique opportunities to reshape the European energy landscape, ensuring economic independence as well as stimulating sustainable solutions to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels,” says Dr Pau Farràs, the principal investigator of ANEMEL, based at NUIG, Ireland.
The ANEMEL project is led by the National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG), and counts on the participation of:
- Technical University of Berlin, Germany;
- AGFA, Belgium;
- LEITAT, Spain;
- AGATA Comunicación Científica, Spain;
- De Nora, Italy;
- Technion Institute of Technology, Israel;
- The University of Newcastle upon Tyne, U.K.;
- EPFL (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne), Switzerland; and
- HES·SO (Haute École Spécialisée de Suisse Occidentale), Switzerland.