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MEMBERS PRESS RELEASE – UK collaboration for the production of low carbon methane and carboxylic…

UK Collaboration for the Production of Low Carbon Methane and Carboxylic Acids for Renewable Energy Storage

18th April 2016
The University of South Wales Sustainable Environment Research Centre (USW SERC) is working with NiTech Solutions Ltd (NiTech) on a collaborative research and development project to develop a renewable energy production and energy storage process. The one year early stage feasibility study is part of the Industrial Biotechnology Catalyst programme funded jointly by BBSRC, EPSRC and Innovate UK, and will evaluate the potential for NiTech’s novel Oscillatory Baffle Reactor (OBR) technology to be incorporated into a biological process invented by USW SERC that could either produce or store energy at grid scales.

The aim of the project is to incorporate NiTech’s reactors into a laboratory scale process that
biologically combines renewable hydrogen gas with excess carbon dioxide to produce either
methane gas for fuel use, or carboxylic acids for energy storage purposes, with a view to significantly improving the process economics vs conventional reactor technology.

This UK collaboration represents an early step towards developing and commercialising the C1 gas conversion process which has the potential to change the way in which energy is managed at regional scales as it provides a bridge between electricity and gas grids. As renewable electricity generation techniques such as wind turbines and PV become more prevalent, and as supplies of natural gas reduce and pressure to decarbonise gas grids increases, the process could have an important future role in optimising renewable energy generation and storage, allow interoperability between distribution networks and matching energy supply and demand profiles at regional and national scales.

NiTech’s OBR technology is finding increasing industrial applications in the pharmaceutical and speciality chemicals sectors, and the potential to utilise their reactors in the energy and biological process sectors represents a potentially significant market expansion. USW SERC will be integrating the reactors within their novel biotech platform and monitoring performance for improved product yield and lower energy consumption compared with conventional and USW’s current designs, with the eventual aim of incorporating the reactors into a commercial process that has low site footprint and low capital and running costs.

For further information contact:

Sandra Esteves, University of South Wales,
Tel: +44 (0)1443 654 130, email:

Will Barton, NiTech Solutions Ltd,
Tel: +44 20 7700 6100, email:

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