Biocatalyst produces green hydrogen from biomass

HydGene Renewables research case study

Researchers have developed a biocatalyst that produces renewable hydrogen from waste biomass, presenting a sustainable method of producing clean energy on demand.

Sampling of hydrogen biocatalyst from fermentation systems

Photography by Nick Cubbin for AgriFutures evokeAG

Integrated within proprietary modular, easily refillable cartridge units, the biocatalyst produces hydrogen from a variety of under-utilised sugars in a wide range of biomass feedstocks, including agricultural residues such as straw, forestry residues, and sewage. This marks a viable alternative to fossil fuels and alternative green hydrogen technologies, such as hydrogen produced through electrolysis, enabling the delivery of hydrogen by utilising affordable biomass feedstock inputs.

By upcycling waste biomass into a localised green energy source, this technology not only mitigates carbon dioxide emissions but also reduces the environmental impacts of waste disposal, fostering a circular economy. The decentralised production of green hydrogen from biowaste presents significant benefits in rural and remote areas, including agricultural and forestry sectors; and reduces complexities and costs for transport and storage of hydrogen.

Researchers at Macquarie University initiated the research and then spun it out into start-up company HydGene Renewables. The company progressed a proof-of-concept process for the conversion of farm biomass waste, such as grain crop stubble, into hydrogen in the period 2021-2023.

HydGene Renewables is positioned to build a pilot plant to conduct further tests, to enhance the efficiency and scale of the biocatalyst production systems. This next phase of technology development has received AUD$6 million in seed investment from entities including Agronomics and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

Case study date: January 2024

HyResearch record: HydGene Renewables: SEED funding