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Breakthrough in Cambridge: Energy from compost

Since 2012 the Christian Doppler Lab has been working tirelessly on transforming sunlight and water into renewable energy. This year there has been a major breakthrough—achieved through painstaking research and a stroke of inspiration at just the right time.

“Following months of research, our system could already transform various materials into hydrogen. By chance we had the idea of trying it with biomass. And it worked”, grins David Wakerley, who played a key part in the research findings in his role as a doctoral student. “To put it simply, we use organic waste to produce energy”.

It’s fantastic to make a discovery that could well provide environmentally sound energy from organic waste one day.
Moritz Kuehnel, Research Associate in the Christian Doppler Laboratory for Sustainable SynGas Chemistry, Cambridge University (UK)

Hydrogen from solar energy

His colleague Moritz Kuehnel explains: “Biomass is very rich in energy. We have developed a catalyst that allows us to release the hydrogen from the biomass using the power of the sun”. For example, the hydrogen could then be used to produce energy in the fuel cell of a hydrogen car.

We are currently optimizing the system and exploring the economic potential of the method. We have been able to develop this technology with the support of OMV and we have already applied for a patent in Great Britain
Erwin Reisner, Head of the Christian Doppler Laboratory for Sustainable SynGas Chemistry in Cambridge

While it’s true that there’s still a long way to go before this process can be used to produce renewable energy worldwide, the first steps have been taken. Erwin Reisner, Head of the Christian Doppler Lab in Cambridge, explains in this video how hydrogen can be produced.

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