Green hydrogen from brewing biomass

Research project at a glance

In this project, the Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences will analyse the availability of brewer's grains and the sustainability of procurement and processing. The design of a suitable electrochemical electrolysis cell will be carried out at Robert Gordon University.

Funding type

Publicly funded research


01.06.2022 to 31.05.2023

Project manager at H-BRS

Project Description

H-BRS professors Stefanie Meilinger and Tanja Clees, along with Dr Alberto Di Salvo and Dr Carlos Fernandez from Robert Gordon University and GEA Brewery Systems GmbH, are one of four award-winning teams in the Scottish Government's funding programme. The programme aims to foster research and practice-based partnerships between Scotland and Germany to develop hydrogen-related research that paves the way to a decarbonised future. 

The brewing industry in Germany is a major industry with a turnover of €7.6 billion and is the largest producer in Europe, producing over 85 million hectolitres of beer. Brewing beer produces a lot of residues, which add up to about 2 million tonnes per year across Europe. Some of this is already fed to animals. Research in the project "Green hydrogen from brewing biomass" is looking for ways to use components of brewing biomass as a raw material for the production of green hydrogen. The currently most widespread process for producing "green hydrogen", the electrolysis of water, requires large amounts of electrical energy.  It is therefore important to find concepts that absorb less renewable electricity. The use of components of brewery biomass promises a reduction in the electrical energy required.

When looking at the use of renewable raw materials as an alternative to the production of hydrogen by electrolysis, it makes sense to consider the brewing industry's spent grains, i.e. malt residues. The grains in the spent grains are rich in polysaccharides, which can be used as a feedstock in an electrochemical cell specially developed for the production of hydrogen.

Student exchange

As part of the student exchange programme "Scotland-Germany Hydrogen Research Scheme", the International Centre for Sustainable Development (IZNE) is sending student Hannah Fülle to Scotland to Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen in the winter semester 2022/2023 and will welcome student Tony Wagstaff to Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences in the summer semester 2023.

Cooperation partners

Robert Gordon University Aberdeen (RGU) Logo