NetZeroChem (NZC) is a research and technology platform investigating business and innovation opportunities arising from the shift to low-carbon technology. After an intense three-year programme of tests and experiments, NZC has created a novel ‘hydrogen from waste’ system, the H2Pod, and built the biggest laboratory reactor in the world to develop it. The underlying chemistry has been known for a long time, but we have developed the best catalyst system and perfected each and every step. Pods produce profitable ‘clean and green’ hydrogen with zero emissions, and a co-product stream of uniquely green aluminates, which are strategic raw materials with no UK source.
NetZeroChem (NZC) can design and manufacture plants according to our clients’ individual requirements. As a modular process, the plant can be economically operated at a variety of scales, allowing for local treatment.
The small footprint, modular design of the reactor means that, once commercialised, NZC will offer waste-to-energy systems based on one or more reactors. Our research shows that they would be capable of handling 10 tonnes of waste per day , which is equivalent to the refuse from a small canning plant . An 10tpd (tonnes of waste per day) a reactor would potentially generate up to 1100kg of hydrogen per day, sufficient to drive one Hydrogen fuel cell car three times around the globe. Truly green in nature the process produces green hydrogen and aluminium hydroxide. Reactors can be located close to where the waste feedstock is produced and collected, and generate electricity, combined heat and power and zero emission aluminates. The plant produces at least 40 times more energy than it uses itself.
To integrate hydrogen into a green circular economy by producing cheap & highly profitable zero-carbon hydrogen and valuable chemicals for local uses from waste, with no harmful emissions of any kind.
Our system called the H2POD enhances energy security, helps fight global warming and waste, while creating new kinds of secure skilled and unskilled jobs.
Our expertise lies in our understanding of the details of the reactor chamber design and the operating parameters. The IP is protected by automated control of the process so that operators do not need access to the details. In addition, the inventor Alan Smith has protected the IP by filing a family of patents.
The H2POD is a way of producing cheap and plentiful hydrogen with near zero emissions with no downstream waste.
THE H2POD USES REALLY LOW-GRADE ALUMINIUM
We prefer to use the kind of waste aluminium that nobody wants. Packaging foil, machining waste, sander dust, beverage cans, wire, and so on. Almost a 100,000 tons of such material is landfilled in the UK every year (based on official figures). This is because it is of low value, being very troublesome to recycle by gas smelting since it produces considerable slag, and toxic fumes. And because of the ‘fight-back’ against the use of plastic packaging we can guarantee that more and more drinks and other items will be packaged in aluminium – of the kind we can recycle better than anybody else.
SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS OF THE H2POD
A new way of using low-grade aluminium waste incentivises collection and separation. It will change it from being a ‘market burden’ to a more valued resource. Communities will benefit from new jobs and cleaner and quieter streets, citizens become active-not passive- participants in recycling, with visible local benefits. ’Pod power’ helps the UK ‘s push for a de-carbonised economy. Legislation to curb diesel use means vehicle makers need alternatives. Battery power is not ideal for HGV’s so hydrogen fuel will be first choice for freight and buses. The ‘H2POD’ enables the shift from diesel to truly local hydrogen power and supports the circular economy, using a waste stream only partly recycled at present. Building H2Pods creates careers for engineers, sellers and operators of plant which will have a global market. Interest of the young in inventions and the environment will gain a new focus that can be woven into community activities, supporting the UK’s quest for environmental leadership from ‘the bottom up’.
IS IT REALLY GREEN AND SUSTAINABLE?
Using our system will reduce strip-mining, shipping and imports. Aluminates are strategic raw materials with no UK source, all mined, refined and shipped to the UK at huge cost to the environment in terms of habitat loss, CO2 emissions and serious – and so far unsolved – legacy pollution caused by ‘red mud’ mine waste.
Should all aluminium be re-smelted? Theoretically yes, but the low-grade scrap we prefer makes this hard, furnace recovery rates of less than 75% and purifying metal for re-use creates a persistent and growing toxic hazard called ‘saltcake dross’. Energy balance data show that the Pod is greenest. Is there much of this low-grade scrap available? Yes- according to official figures over 50% of it, 90,000 tons, is landfilled every year and this figure will grow. Another 100,000 tons goes to the Asian export trade, but legislation is closing this door. Consumers are choosing cans over plastic bottles, for example you couldn’t buy bottled water at Glastonbury, only aluminium canned water and Champagne. Why is the H2Pod the best way? It uses ‘non-preferred’ material to benefit the environment, makes green hydrogen, reduces landfill and will make Britain self-sufficient in important raw materials. H2Pods make little grid demand and can go anywhere. The system creates new employment in proper circular economies. A 20 tonne/week H2Pod creates 6+ direct jobs, another 20 indirect jobs and incentivises scrap metal recycling. Result? Less waste, cleaner air, empowered communities.