Europeans launch collaborative project to generate green hydrogen from salty water

A new project led by University of Galway has been launched to explore new methods to generate green hydrogen from low-quality water sources, such as seawater and wastewater.

Pau Farràs, principal investigator of ANEMEL project (Courtesy of the University of Galway)
Pau Farràs, principal investigator of ANEMEL project (Courtesy of the University of Galway)

Funded by the European Innovation Council, the ANEMEL project brings together experts from academic institutions, research facilities, technological centers, SMEs and industries in seven European countries to develop efficient electrolysers, which split water into hydrogen and oxygen, and expedite the design of prototypes over a four-year period.

The project fits within a bigger initiative by the European Commission to design and test novel routes towards the production of green hydrogen.

Aside from the University of Galway, the ANEMEL project partners include Technical University of Berlin, AGFA, LEITAT, AGATA Comunicación Científica, De Nora, Technion Institute of Technology, EPFL (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne), and HES·SO (Haute École Spécialisée de Suisse Occidentale).

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 fertilizers, feedstocks and fundamental materials like steel.

ANEMEL will gather expertise in the field of membranes and electrolysers, and the overall goal is to develop 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 – favoring 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, according to the University of Galway.

Pau Farràs, principal investigator of ANEMEL and researcher with the School of Chemistry, University of Galway, said: “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.”

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