SHyRE - Sulfuric acid and hydrogen production for the electronics industry through innovative recycling

In SHyRE, an innovative process for sulfuric acid recycling is being developed. The aim is to efficiently produce high-purity sulfuric acid and hydrogen by combining novel decomposition processes with electrochemical methods.

Short Description

Running time

01.02.2023 - 31.01.2026

Starting point, contents, goals and expected results

Sulfuric acid is mainly used in the synthesis of fertilizers. It is also an essential base chemical in specialty processes in organic-chemical, petrochemical and metallurgical industries, as well as in the production of semiconductors and pharmaceuticals. In case of the specialty applications mentioned, the quality requirements cause high production and disposal costs, since economic processes for large-scale recycling of these sulfuric acids are currently not available. To counteract this problem, the project aims to develop an innovative process for sulfuric acid recycling.

The SHyRE process combines nitrogen-reduced acid decomposition with an electrochemical cell for acid recycling. In the electrochemical cell, sulfuric acid is produced as the main product while the carbon-free 'ecofuel' hydrogen is produced as a by-product. Here, hydrogen production requires only one third of the energy required by conventional electrolysis processes. With the exception of a catalyst, the cell structure consists of non-metallic components and operates at low temperatures. This circumvents a central problem of conventional processes, in which corrosion products formed by contact of metallic surfaces with SO2, SO3 or sulfuric acid leach into the product.

The acid decomposition, in turn, is based on a hydrogen burner, which is operated with significantly increased oxygen concentrations compared to air. By developing and integrating this novel nitrogen-reduced sulfuric acid decomposition, a process intensification which significantly reduces the plant size as well as the energy demand of fans and compressors is achieved. In addition, the use of hydrogen as an energy carrier enables a CO2 reduction up to CO2-neutrality of the entire process.

The project partners, consisting of the Institute of Chemical Engineering and Environmental Technology at Graz University of Technology and P&P Industries AG, are focusing on the evaluation of the overall process as well as on the experimental examination of the two core components, the hydrogen-based sulfuric acid decomposition and the sulfuric acid synthesis in the electrochemical cell.

The combination of the two processes enables innovative and CO2-neutral recycling of sulfuric acid. The associated reduction in energy requirements, acquisition costs and emissions will form the basis for an ecological and economical circular economy.

Project Partners

Project management

  • Ass.Prof. Dr.techn. Merit Bodner


  • Institute of Chemical Engineering and Environmental Technology, Graz University of Technology

Partners of the project consortium

  • P&P Industries AG

Contact Address

Ass.Prof. Dr.techn. Merit Bodner
Graz University of Technology, Institute of Chemical Engineering and Environmental Technology
Inffeldgasse 25/C
8010 Graz

Tel.: +43 316 / 873 4977