Aerobic Digestion of Agricultural Waste by Renewable Water Electrolysis- ON-441

Project type: Research
Desired discipline(s): Engineering - chemical / biological, Engineering, Agriculture, Natural Sciences, Environmental sciences
Company: Next Hydrogen Corp
Project Length: 4 to 6 months
Preferred start date: As soon as possible.
Language requirement: English
Location(s): Open nationwide- remote interaction, Canada; Canada
No. of positions: 1
Desired education level: CollegeUndergraduate/BachelorMaster'sPhDPostdoctoral fellowPreferred institutions: University of Guelph, University of Lethbridge, University of Saskatchewan

Search across Mitacs’ international networks - check this box if you’d also like to receive profiles of researchers based outside of Canada: 
No

About the company: 

Next Hydrogen design-builds  water electrolysis plants that are purpose designed for integration with renwable power using its patented cell technology. As the company looks at the expansion of hydrogen infrastructure in renewable energy parks, this development will make available a large supply of by-product oxygen. For example a single 10 MW electrolysis plant will produce 4T of hydrogen fuel and  32 T of pure of Oxygen per day. Currently this oxygen is vented to atmosphere and the company wants to develop applications for this by-product oxygen  This project will look at how this by-product oxygen could be used in aerobic digestion of animal waste and crop residues to produce compost/fertilizer and treat waste water. 

Describe the project.: 

The first phase of the project wll evaluate potential aerobic processes on the basis of ghg emissions and cost. Research questions to be investigated:

  • What are the environmental benefits of using oxygen and aerobic digestion versus conventional methods?
  • Can aerobic digestion producing compost reduce/replace use of fertilizers based on fossil fuels?
  • How does full-cycle aerobic digestion compare with anerobic bigestion and other methods of organic waste management?
  • What technologies and technology gaps exist in using oxygen in aerobic digestion?

Our goal is to develop oxygen off-takers for renewable oxygen production in rural communities.The second phase of the project will pilot specific technologies identified in Phase 1 using a hydrogen facility proposed for Bruce County Ontario.

The first task of the researcher is to identfy complementary technologies that can use oxygen to process animal waste and crop residues. These would be evaluated on the basis of cost and ghg emssions, and the technology gaps in scale up would be identified.

Phase 1 is a technoecomic study. Some analysis of different cases will be required using tools such as GHGenious or agricultural equivalents. Some travel to visit sites in Ontario may also be necessay.

Required expertise/skills: 

  • Chemical engineering skills in area of process evaluatuon of biological treatment of wastes
  •  Analytical skills as it pertains to analysis of emissions for a variety of pathways
  •  Familiarity with ghg analysis and agricultural waste products
  •  Knowledge of bio-reactor design would also be useful