Hydrogen production from biogas

Title of the research project

BioRoburplus - Advanced direct biogas fuel processor for robust and cost-effective decentralised hydrogen production

Scientific area 

Clean and sustainable energy system, Environment, Hydrogen economy and Fuel cells.


The aim of BioRoburplus project is the development of an entire pre-commercial (107 Kg/d) fuel processor able to to produce pure hydrogen from different biogas types in a cost-effective way. The hydrogen obtained in this way could be successively used to produce electric energy by using fuel cells.

Description of the research project 

The BioRoburplus project aims at the development of a direct biogas fuel processor for robust and cost-effective decentralised hydrogen production by “oxidative steam reforming of biogas”. Biogas can originate from landfill gas, anaerobic digestion of organic waste or anaerobic digestion of sewage sludge.

The process can be divided into four fundamental steps:

  • “Biogas reforming” to produce synthesis gas (H2, CO, CO2, H2O) takes place in a reactor based on structured cellular ceramics coated with stable and easily recyclable noble metal catalysts with enhanced coking resistance (Figure 1).
  • The purification for the removal of secondary synthesis gas compounds to obtain pure hydrogen.
  • The generation of heat through the combustion of secondary compounds of synthesis gas.
  • The use of heat produced for the generation of steam to be used in the feed of the reforming reactor.

Finally, the project should demonstrate the economic feasibility of producing hydrogen to support integration of renewable energy sources into the energy systems at distributed level.

Figure 1 - Reforming reactor

Impact on society 

The project promotes the development of sustainable technologies dedicated to a decentralized market. Particularly, the idea is to ensure the supply of clean, safe and reliable energy, in a competitive economic environment, reducing the effects of climate change and pollution, and addressing the question of exhaustion of oil reserves.

Working group @Polito 

Debora Fino: Full professor

Samir Bensaid: Associate Professor

Tonia Tommasi: Assistant Professor

Yeidy Sorani Montenegro Camacho: Post-doc

Elena Pertusato: Administrative officer

National and International partners 

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (Germania)

Scuola Universitaria Professionale della Svizzera Italiana (Svizzera)

Institut de Recherches sur la Catalyse et l'Environnement de Lyon (Francia)

Chemical Process and Energy Resources Institute/Center for Research and Technology Hellas (Grecia)

DBI-Gastechnologisches Institut gGmbH Freiberg (Germania)

EngiCer SA (Svizzera)

HySyTech srl (Italia)

UAB Modernios E-Technologijos (Lituania)

ACEA Pinerolese Industriale S.p.A (Italia)

Johnson Matthey PLC (Regno Unito)

 BIOROBUR plus project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 736272

  • Budget: 3.813.500 euro
  • Start date: 1/01/2017
  • End date: 30/06/2020