MNRE has invited preliminary project proposals on “Solar-driven seawater hydrogen production and producing methane by sequestering CO2”
The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has been supporting a research programme on different aspects of the production of hydrogen from renewable energy sources, its safe and efficient storage, and its various applications. In the above background, it has invited Preliminary project proposals on “Solar-driven seawater hydrogen production and producing methane by sequestering CO2”.
At present, the processes associated with hydrogen production from renewable energy sources and use are energy intensive and in various stages of research. The country’s present efforts are towards development of technical know-how, generating system performance data, and indigenously develop cost-competitive systems and devices for production and utilisation of hydrogen energy.
In April 2019, a paper “Solar-driven, highly sustained splitting of seawater into hydrogen and oxygen fuels” was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, PNAS. This research opens new vistas for utilisation solar energy for hydrogen production in a cost-effective manner. The process could utilise seawater for hydrogen production and do not require water purification beforehand.
Globally significant research is underway for minimising the energy loss in electrolysis and developing a cost-competitive process for transforming the hydrogen and CO2 into methane (CH4). Excess electricity generated by intermittent renewables can be used to make hydrogen via water electrolysis and the subsequent application of the Sabatier reaction would produce methane. The methane can then be used on demand to generate electricity (and heat — combined heat and power). This process has the potential to create a reliable, zero-emission source of fuel.
The preliminary proposals will be examined by a committee duly constituted for the purpose, and shortlisted proposals will be invited to submit a final proposal.
The overarching research objective is to develop state of the art technical know-how and develop a prototype system that has commercialization potential in the short term. Specific objectives are as follows:
- Develop cost-competitive seawater electrolysis technology for hydrogen production;
- Integrate solar power system with seawater hydrogen production process;
- Standardise methane production process using hydrogen and CO2; and
- Develop an integrated prototype system.
The proposal should be for coordinated research to target end to end complete technological solutions. An institution (academic institutions and research organizations, government agencies, industry or any other competent group) should lead the research and evolve multidisciplinary, multi-institutional and multi-partner approach including industry with the clearly identified and complementary role of each member.