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Converting biogas to hydrogen to run fuel cell vehicles

A project has been successfully completed between GTI and the Department of Defense to condition wastewater treatment biogas into a high-quality biomethane fuel that is converted to hydrogen (via steam reforming) to operate military base vehicles with hydrogen-powered fuel cells. Hydrogen generated at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM)’s water treatment plant was used to power 19 fuel cell forklifts and a fuel cell shuttle bus for a 12 month demonstration. GTI designed, built and installed the waste gas clean-up system and hydrogen generation infrastructure at JBLM.

In a first-of-its-kind demonstration at BMW’s manufacturing plant in South Carolina, project partners DOE, BMW, Ameresco, GTI, and the South Carolina Research Authority powered some of the facility’s fuel cell forklifts with hydrogen produced on-site from biomethane gas at a nearby landfill. There was no detectable difference in performance of forklifts fueled with hydrogen produced from garbage compared to those fueled with standard hydrogen.