The general objective of the ZEPPELIN project is to investigate a flexible set of technologies for the production and storage of green hydrogen based on the use of waste and by-products, seeking to significantly improve the costs and efficiency of the production of this energy vector. Thus, the project addresses the different technological challenges related to biogas and bioethanol reforming, dark fermentation (FO), microbial electrolysis (ME), gasification and H2 storage, establishing new models for obtaining green H2 complementary to electrolysis with renewable energies, integrated in a decarbonized energy model under the principles of the Circular Economy and digitalization, in a scenario of water stress aggravated by phenomena derived from climate change.
This initiative is driven by a consortium of eight companies led by Aqualia, together with Norvento Enerxía, Naturgy, Perseo Biotechnology, Repsol, Redexis, Reganosa and Técnicas Reunidas, are embarking on a project that will last 38 months (from November 1, 2021 to December 31, 2024).
In addition, 9 research organizations (CETIM, CIEMAT, EnergyLab, CIDAUT, Institute of Chemical Technology (ITQ-UPV and ITQ-CSIC), the Foundation (FUNGE-UVa), IMDEA-ENERGIA, and ITMATI), which have a complementary technological capacity to carry out all the research activities proposed throughout the project, are also collaborating.
ZEPPELIN has a total budget of 7,108,584 € and a grant of 4,239,725.90 €, being subsidized by the CDTI with the support of the Ministry of Science and Innovation and funded by the European Union through the Next Generation EU program, within the MISSION 2021 call, which finances pre-competitive research projects in cooperation, led by companies, to achieve:
Relevant research that proposes solutions to cross-cutting and strategic challenges of Spanish society.
Improve the knowledge and technology base on which Spanish companies rely to compete.
Stimulate public-private cooperation.
In this way, the ZEPPELIN project will address the challenges proposed in Mission 2: To promote safe, efficient and clean energy for the 21st century.
To this end, ZEPPELIN is structured in 5 complementary research activities that address each of the technologies of the project, as well as their integration in different proofs of concept:
Activity 1 proposes the investigation and optimization of H2 production from catalytic techniques. The dry reforming process of biogas is investigated and optimized, including the pre-treatment for its desulfurization and a second stage valorization of the syngas to maximize H2 production. In addition, research and optimization of the bioethanol production and reforming process is addressed, as well as process improvements through electrification of catalytic reactors.
Activity 2 proposes research and optimization of H2 production from microbiological techniques. Specifically, the dark fermentation process, microbial electrolysis and bioH2 upgrading are investigated and optimized.
Activity 3 is focused on the research and optimization of H2 production from thermochemical techniques. For this purpose, the gasification process from waste and the separation and purification processes of H2 and Syngas are investigated and optimized.
Activity 4 is focused on the investigation of H2 storage processes. Specifically, new storage materials in the form of ammonia, new storage materials using porous materials, as well as research on thermal-energy integration in H2 storage processes are investigated.
In addition, each of the previous activities proposes the investigation of new algorithms for the modeling of each of the processes studied.
Finally, Activity 5 deals with the integration and optimization of alternative processes for obtaining hydrogen. The integration of new production and storage technologies is studied, including the proof of concept of the technologies investigated in ZEPPELIN. In addition, the analysis of the integration potential of the technologies and the design of a digital optimization tool are proposed.