Hitachi Zosen Inova USA (HZIU) announced it has entered into an agreement with the Canadian technology company CHAR Technologies Ltd. to develop a test project to produce green hydrogen and biochar at HZIU’s San Luis Obispo, California biogas plant. The facility — commissioned in 2018 and built, owned and operated by HZIU — processes about 36,500 tons/year of organic waste, primarily food scraps and yard trimmings, into biogas using HZI’s Kompogas® dry fermentation process. Over 6 million kWh/year of electricity is generated. About 1,700 tons of liquid fertilizer and 18,000 tons of solid fermentation digestate are produced annually. Under the HZIU-CHAR agreement, CHAR’s high temperature pyrolysis system will process the digestate into 1,320 tons/year of green hydrogen, and 2,800 tons/year of biocarbon.
The project will be delivered under a BOOT (build-own-operate-transfer) model, where CHAR will be the initial project owner, with HZIU managing system operations. During the period when CHAR owns the assets, it will receive revenues directly for the project outputs (green hydrogen and biocarbon). Eventually, HZIU’s subsidiary will purchase the project for a one-time payment. Ongoing project output revenues will be dispersed based on a predefined agreement. The hydrogen and biochar can be marketed for sale in applications such as fuel for hydrogen powered vehicles or soil additives for agricultural land.