More than $3 million for an international center on green hydrogen

International research center for green hydrogen production technologies

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) has awarded a $3.5M grant for the creation of the Canadian component of the new International Research Center for Green Hydrogen Production Technologies, which brings together, among others, researchers from UQAM, UQTR, McGill University, the University of Toronto, the University of Calgary and the University of British Columbia. Created simultaneously in four countries – Canada, United States, United Kingdom, Australia – the Center was officially launched on September 18.

In Canada, Department of Chemistry professor François Perreault (Ph.D. environmental sciences, 2012; M.Sc. chemistry, 2009), member of NanoQAM, will lead the intersectoral research axis on water. “Water quality and sources of supply are major issues for the production of green hydrogen, especially in regions where water is scarce,” underlines the professor, who has expertise in water quality. water and in water treatment processes, particularly those focused on desalination.

Researchers from Egypt and Germany are also collaborating on the project, which has received other multimillion-dollar grants from organizations in the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.

Energetic transition

Currently, almost 95% of hydrogen consumed globally is produced from fossil fuels, primarily natural gas and coal. These production techniques are inexpensive, but very polluting.

New low-polluting technologies, such as methane pyrolysis, water electrolysis and water photocatalysis, now make it possible to obtain hydrogen described as green. “The problem is that these technologies are relatively expensive, especially in terms of energy,” observes François Perreault, who is also an associate professor at Arizona State University. One of the Center’s challenges will be to make these technologies more affordable and sustainable by emphasizing the use of renewable energy and finding alternative sources of water for places where water supply is limited. »

Green hydrogen could play a decisive role in the global energy transition, since it can be used in several sectors, notably the industrial and transport sectors. “Quebec has the ideal conditions for the production of green hydrogen, namely abundant water and expertise in green energies,” mentions François Perreault. The Quebec government also unveiled its first Quebec Strategy on green hydrogen and bioenergy in 2022.

Funding for student research

Thanks to the NSERC grant, François Perreault obtained funding to supervise the work of two graduate students. “I would like us to focus the work on the quality of water from alternative sources and on the linkage of water treatment and hydrogen production technologies,” underlines the professor. Students interested in the project can contact François Perreault.

Source: Actualités UQAM