Driving Europe towards a greener future

Driving Europe towards a greener future

Major gas company Linde has developed an innovative process to produce hydrogen fuel from biodiesel by-product glycerine. A demonstration plant is under construction in Germany.

Linde – the world’s largest manufacturer of hydrogen plants – has developed a process to produce hydrogen sustainably from biogenic materials. A demonstration plant will come on-stream in Leuna, Germany in mid-2010.

Leuna will reprocess, pyrolyse and reform raw glycerine – a by-product of biodiesel manufacture – to produce a hydrogen-rich gas. This will be fed into Linde’s Leuna II hydrogen plant for purification and liquefaction. The liquefied gas will be used for testing hydrogen-fuelled cars in Berlin and Hamburg.

Raw glycerine is particularly suited for hydrogen production as a result of its high hydrogen content. The potential benefit of biomass per hectare is exploited to an even greater extent by conversion of glycerine into hydrogen for fuel production. Biogenically-produced glycerine would not compete with food production and is available year round.

This method is an efficient way to process glycerine and augment European hydrogen stocks. It has the potential for replication and could be environmentally beneficial as producing hydrogen in this manner maximises the amount of fuel produced from a given amount of land.


European green car policies

The EU is stimulating the development of a greener European car industry through a range of measures, such as the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Technology Initiative (JTI) and the European Green Cars Initiative.

  • The Fuel Cells and Hydrogen JTI aims to accelerate the market introduction of these technologies as an instrument in achieving a carbon-lean energy system. The JTI announced its second call for proposals in July 2009. €140 million allocated across 29 project topics will put hydrogen energy technologies on the market two to five years sooner than expected.
  • The European Green Cars Initiative supports research into the use of renewable and non-polluting energy sources for road vehicles, as well as technology developments to help safety and traffic fluidity. The initiative is providing €5 billion to support the development of sustainable forms of road transport. €4 billion will come through loans from the European Investment Bank, while the remaining €1 billion will be provided by the EU Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) and the private sector.

More information:

Fuel Cells and Hydrogen JTI: http://ec.europa.eu/research/fch/index_en.cfm

‘Hydrogen buses, clean power stations and greener laptops: Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Technology Initiative launches a €140 million call for proposals for cutting-edge research’ (Commission press release): http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/09/1076&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN

European Green Cars Initiative: http://ec.europa.eu/research/industrial_technologies/lists/green-cars_en.html

Related information on EcoAP website:

‘European Council adopts Fuel Cells and Hydrogen JTI’

More information