Hydrogen Production and Distribution
Solar integrated pressurized high temperature electrolysis
Hydrogen and other fuels are expected to play a key role as energy carrier for the transport sector and as energy buffer for the integration of large amounts of renewable energy into the grid. Therefore the development of carbon lean technologies producing hydrogen at reasonable price from renewable or low CO2 emitting sources like nuclear is of utmost importance. It is the case of water electrolysis, and among the various technologies, high temperature steam electrolysis (so-called HTE or SOE for Solid Oxide Electrolysis) presents a major interest, since less electricity is required to dissociate water at high temperature, the remaining part of the required dissociation energy being added as heat, available at a lower price level. In addition, technologies that offer the possibility not only to transform energy without CO2 emissions, but even to recycle CO2 produced elsewhere are rare. High temperature co-electrolysis offers such a possibility, by a joint electrolysis of CO2 and H2O, to produce syngas (H2+CO), which is the standard intermediate for the subsequent production of methane or other gaseous or liquid fuels after an additional processing step.
These aspects are covered by the SOPHIA project.
A 3 kWe-size pressurized HTE system, coupled to a concentrated solar energy source will be designed, fabricated and operated on-sun for proof of principle. Second, it will prove the concept of co-electrolysis at the stack level while operated also pressurized. The achievement of such targets needs key developments that are addressed into SOPHIA.
Further, SOPHIA identifies different “power to gas” scenarios of complete process chain (including power, heat and CO2 sources) for the technological concept development and its end-products valorisation. A techno-economic analysis will be carried out for different case studies identified for concepts industrialization and a Life Cycle Analysis with respect to environmental aspects according to Eco-indicator 99 will be performed.
Photoelectrochemical Demonstrator Device for Solar Hydrogen Generation
To address the challenges of solar energy capture and storage in the form of a chemical fuel, we will develop a hybrid photoelectrochemical-photovoltaic (PEC-PV) tandem device for light-driven water splitting. This concept is based on a visible light-absorbing metal oxide photoelectrode, which is immersed in water and placed in front of a smaller-bandgap thin film PV cell. This tandem approach ensures optimal use of the solar spectrum, while the chemically stable metal oxide protects the underlying PV cell from photocorrosion. Recent breakthroughs have brought metal oxide photoelectrodes close to the efficiency levels required for practical applications. We will use our extensive combined expertise on nanostructuring, photon management, and interface engineering to design innovative ways to solve the remaining bottlenecks, and achieve a solar-to-H2 (STH) energy conversion efficiency of 10% for a small area device, with less than 10% performance decrease over 1000 h. In parallel, our academic and industrial partners will collaborate to develop large-area deposition technologies for scale-up to ≥50 cm2. This will be combined with the large-area PV technology already available within the consortium, and used in innovative cell designs that address critical scale-up issues, such as mass transport limitations and resistive losses. The finished design will be used to construct a water splitting module consisting of 4 identical devices that demonstrates the scalability of the technology. This prototype will be tested in the field, and show a STH efficiency of 8% with the same stability as the small area device. In parallel, our partners from industry and research institutions will work together on an extensive techno-economic and life-cycle analysis based on actual performance characteristics. This will give a reliable evaluation of the application potential of photoelectrochemical hydrogen production, and further strengthen Europe’s leading position in this growing field.
Stack design for a Megawatt scale PEM electrolyser.
Water electrolysis based on PEM technology has demonstrated its applicability to produce hydrogen and oxygen in a clean and safe way on site and on demand. Systems have been demonstrated in a wide range of niche applications with capacities from << 1 Nl/h to 30 Nm^3/h. PEM electrolysers offer efficiency, safety and compactness benefits over alkaline electrolysers. However, these benefits have not been fully realised in distributed hydrogen generation principally due to high capital costs.
In order for PEM electrolysers to fit with the need for large scale on-site production of hydrogen for hydrogen refuelling stations (HRS), renewable energy storage, grid balancing and "power to gas" the capacity of PEM electrolysers should be increased to at least 3-4 MW.
The main goal of this project will be to develop a suitable stack design for PEM electrolysers in the MW range using large area cells and the necessary CCMs/MEAs, current collectors and seals for the large area cells.
In-situ Diagnostics in Water Electrolyzers
In this project an electrochemical in-situ diagnostic tools for locally resolved measurements of current densities, which has been originally developed for application in polymer electrolyte membrane based fuel cells, will be adapted and integrated into water electrolysers. The tool will be applied to three different electrolysis technologies in a parallel effort: proton exchange membrane electrolysers, alkaline electrolysers and anion exchange membrane electrolysers.
With this tool, which will include relevant sensors, the operating conditions will be monitored on-line. Test protocols for normal operation and accelerated ageing operation modes will be applied to the systems with the aim to identify critical operating conditions by means of the new integrated diagnostic tool.
Parallel to these in-situ diagnostics, ex-situ investigations of electrolyser components, such as electrodes and membranes, will support the approach. Fresh and aged samples will be studied, in steady interaction with the in-situ diagnostics, to identify the mechanisms leading to performance losses and failure of components.
These two approaches will be combined to find strategies and operation parameters to anticipate and to avoid hazardous operation modes. The possible use of electrolysers as decentralised storage systems for excess electric energy and thus providing a sustainable energy carrier in form of hydrogen will require a reliable operation under varying loads.
Integrated High-Temperature Electrolysis and Methanation for Effective Power to Gas Conversion
The objective of the HELMETH project is the proof of concept of a highly efficient Power-to-Gas (P2G) technology with methane as a chemical storage and by thermally integrating high temperature electrolysis (SOEC technology) with methanation. This thermal integration balancing the exothermal and endothermal processes is an innovation with a high potential for a most energy-efficient storage solution for renewable electricity, without any practical capacity and duration limitation, since it provides SNG (Substitute Natural Gas) as a product, which is fully compatible with the existing pipeline network and storage infrastructure.
The realisation of the P2G technology as proposed within HELMETH needs several development steps and HELMETH focuses on two main technical and socio-economic objectives, which have to be met in order to show the feasibility of the technology:
- Elaboration of the conditions / scenarios for an economic feasibility of the P2G process towards methane as chemical storage, without significantly deteriorating the CO2-balance of the renewable electricity.
- Demonstration of the technical feasibility of a conversion efficiency > 85 % from renewable electricity to methane, which is superior to the efficiency for the generation of hydrogen via conventional water electrolysis.
- Within HELMETH the main focus lies in the development of a complete pressurized P2G module consisting of a pressurized steam electrolyser module, which is thermally integrated with an optimized carbon dioxide methanation module. The HELMETH project will prove and demonstrate that:
- The conversion of renewable electricity into a storable hydrocarbon by high-temperature electrolysis is a feasible option,
- High temperature electrolysis and methanation can be coupled and thermally integrated towards highest conversion efficiencies by utilizing the process heat of the exothermal methanation reaction in the high temperature electrolysis process.
Thermochemical HYDROgen production in SOLar monolithic reactor: construction and operation of a 750kWth PLANT
The HYDROSOL-PLANT project is expected to develop, verify and operate all of the tools required to scale up solar H2O splitting to the pilot (750 kWth) scale. The work will be based on the successful HYDROSOL series projects and mainly on the outcome of the current FCH-JU co-funded project, HYDROSOL-3D, dedicated to the provision of all main design specifications of such a pilot plant. HYDROSOL-PLANT comes thus as the natural continuation of such an effort for CO2-free hydrogen production in real scale. The main objectives of HYDROSOL-PLANT are to:
- Define all key components and aspects necessary for the erection and operation of a 750 kWth solar plant for H2O splitting (heliostat field, solar reactors, overall process monitoring and control, feedstock conditioning, etc.)
- Develop tailored heliostat field technology (field layout, aiming strategies, monitoring and control software) that enables accurate temperature control of the solar reactors.
- Scale-up the HYDROSOL reactor while advancing the state-of-the-art (redox materials, monolithic honeycomb fabrication and functionalization) for optimum hydrogen yield.
- Design the overall chemical process, covering reactants and products conditioning, and heat exchange/recovery, use of excess/waste heat, monitoring and control.
- Construct a solar hydrogen production demonstration plant in the 750 kWth range to verify the developed technologies for solar H2O splitting.
- Operate the plant and demonstrate hydrogen production and storage on site (at levels > 3 kg/week).
- Perform a detailed techno-economic study for the commercial exploitation of the solar process.
Biogas robust processing with combined catalytic reformer and trap
In the BioROBUR project a robust and efficient fuel processor for the direct reforming of biogas will be developed and tested at a scale equivalent to 50 Nm3/h production of PEM-grade hydrogen to demonstrate the achievement of all the call mandates. The system energy efficiency of biogas conversion into hydrogen will be 65%, for a reference biogas composition of 60%vol CH4 and 40%vol CO2.
Key innovations of the BioROBUR approach are:
- The choice of an autothermal reforming route, based on easily-recoverable noble-metal catalysts supported on high-heat-conductivity cellular materials, which shows intrinsic advantages compared to steam reforming: catalysts less prone to coking, easier adaptability to biogas changing composition, more compact design, efficient handling of heat, lower materials costs, fast start-up/shut-down, easier process control, etc.
- The adoption of a multifunctional catalytic wall-flow trap based on transition metal catalysts, close coupled to the ATR reformer, which could entail effective filtration and conversion of soot particles eventually generated in the inlet part of the reformer during steady or transient operation, the decomposition of traces of incomplete reforming products (i.e. aldehydes, ethylene,…), the promotion of the WGS reaction to a significant extent so as to lower the size of the WGS unit, etc.
- The adoption of a coke growth control strategy based on periodic pulses of air/steam or on momentary depletion of the biogas feed so as to create adequate conditions in the ATR reactor for an on-stream regeneration of the catalysts, thereby prolonging the operating lifetime of the catalysts with no need of reactor shut-down.
- Under the experienced coordination of Prof. Debora Fino, the project will integrate, in an industrially oriented exploitation perspective, the contribution of 9 partners (3 universities, 2 research centres, 3 SMEs and 1 large company from 7 different European Countries) with complementary expertise.
Solar To Hydrogen Hybrid Cycles
The FCH JU strategy has identified hydrogen production by water decomposition pathways powered by renewables such as solar energy to be a major component for sustainable and carbon-free hydrogen supply. Solar-powered thermo-chemical cycles are capable to directly transfer concentrated sunlight into chemical energy by a series of chemical and electrochemical reactions, and of these cycles, hybrid-sulphur (HyS) cycle was identified as the most promising one.
The challenges in HyS remain mostly in dealing with materials (electrolyser, concentrator, acid decomposer/cracker and plant components) and with the whole process flowsheet optimization, tailored to specific solar input and plant site location. With recent technology level at large-scale hydrogen production concepts hydrogen costs are unlikely to go below 3.0-3.5 €/kg. For smaller scale plant, the costs of hydrogen might be substantially higher.
The present proposal focuses on applied, bottle-necks solving, materials research and development and demonstration of the relevant-scale key components of the solar-powered, CO2-free hybrid water splitting cycles, complemented by their advanced modelling and process simulation including conditions and site-specific technical-economical assessment optimization, quantification and benchmarking. For the short-term integration of solar-power sources with new Outotec Open Cycle will be performed. Simplified structure, extra revenues from acid sales and highly efficient co-use of the existing plants may drop hydrogen costs by about 50-75% vs. traditional process designs.
Besides providing key materials and process solutions, for the first time the whole production chain and flowsheet will be connected with multi-objective design and optimization algorithms ultimately leading to hydrogen plants and technology “green concepts” commercialization.
The consortium consists of key materials suppliers and process development SME and industry, RTD performers and a university.
Pre-Normative Research for Thermodynamic Optimization of Fast Hydrogen Transfer
Hydrogen transfer concerns filling and emptying processes. Filling generates heat which can lead to overheating of composite pressure vessels especially when filling transportable containers or fuelling vehicles. Emptying generates cooling. Excessive cooling may occur during delivery of hydrogen from a trailer. The HyTransfer project will address both issues.
As hydrogen vehicle refuelling is the leading application the project will thus focus on fast filling of composite tanks. To avoid overheating, the speed of transfer can be limited or the gas cooled prior to introduction. Both impacts performance and costs, temperature control is thus essential for optimization of gas transfer. Temperature limits of transfer can apply to material, that must not exceed design temperature (e.g. 85°C), or to gas that must not exceed a specified limit. HyTransfer aims to develop and experimentally validate a practical approach for optimizing means of temperature control during fast transfers of compressed hydrogen to meet the specified temperature limit (gas or material), taking into account the system’s thermal behaviour. Whereas existing approaches focus on gas temperature and specify gas pre-cooling temperature, this project will be based on the implementation of a simple model predicting gas and wall temperature to determine the amount of cooling required to avoid exceeding the limit temperature, and on the specification of cooling energy, rather than a fixed pre-cooling temperature. The relevant parameters obtained from a simple test for characterizing the thermal behaviour of a tank system will also be determined.
This project aims to create conditions for an uptake of the approach by international standards, for wide-scale implementation into refuelling protocols. The new approach will be thus evaluated and its benefits quantified with regards to performance, costs, and safety. Finally, recommendations for implementation in international standards will be proposed.
Material Testing and Design Recommendations for Components exposed to HYdrogen enhanCed fatiguE
The objective of the project is to provide a methodology, based on lab-scale experimental tests under hydrogen gas, in order to assess the service life of a real scale component taking into account fatigue loading under hydrogen. The lifetime assessment will result from combining the hydraulic cycling performance of the component with the appropriate knowledge of the performance of the metallic material in hydrogen under cyclic loading. Dissemination of recommendations for implementations based on international standards is the final goal of the project. Achievements to date... The deployment of a large hydrogen infrastructure with societal acceptance relies on the development of appropriate codes and standards to ensure safety. While hydrogen infrastructures are gradually being built all over the world, there exist no international standard to properly ensure fitness for service of pressure vessels subject to hydrogen enhanced fatigue. For example, high pressure compressors and pressure buffers in FCV refuelling stations experience cyclic loading due to pressure variation. The MATRHYCE project aims to develop and provide an easy to implement vessel design and service life assessment methodology based on lab-scale tests under hydrogen gas. This methodology will be based on selection and further development of the most appropriate, reliable and easy to handle lab-scale test under hydrogen pressure to quantify the hydrogen induced fatigue of a material. The results shall be transferable, allowing to design a component and to assess its lifetime without full scale tests. At least three types of lab-scale tests will be carried out and carefully analysed to address the fatigue of pressure vessel steels without and under hydrogen pressure. The proposed rationale will be finally validated by means of fatigue tests under hydrogen pressure on full scale components. The obtained results and conclusions will allow prioritized recommendations to support ongoing or new RCS initiatives at the international level. Indeed, this project will provide data and methodology necessary to improve European and International standards on high-pressure components exposed to hydrogen-enhanced fatigue. The project aims to support and speed up the build of a safe and harmonised Hydrogen supply network in Europe.
UNIQUE gasifier for hydrogen Production
Through development and scale up activities on materials and reactors for the integration of advanced biomass steam gasification and syngas purification processes, UNIfHY aims to obtain continuous pure hydrogen production from biomass, increase well-to-tank efficiency and contribute to a sustainable energy portfolio, exploiting results achieved in past R&D EU projects on hot gas catalytic conditioning. The project is based on the utilization of plant components of proven performance and reliability and well established processes (UNIQUE coupled gasification and gas conditioning technology, Water-Gas Shift, WGS, system and Pressure Swing Adsorption, PSA, system), thus targeting up to 20 years plant durability with availability>95%. The project benefits from the already existing laboratories and UNIQUE gasifiers in order to maximize results (technology development at process-, system- and industrial-scale) with minimum risk and budget requirement (laboratories, pilot and industrial gasifier already available). New materials for atmospheric pressure WGS are realized and utilized to develop reactors, integrated with a tailored PSA in a portable purification unit, connected downstream small-to-medium scale (up to 1 MWth) UNIQUE gasifiers in order to yield pure hydrogen. The result will be two UNIfHY prototype units for continuous production of hydrogen (up to 500 kg/day). Thanks to the high level of thermal integration and to the reuse of purge gas in the process, conversion efficiency in hydrogen higher than 70% is expected. Finally, the gas conditioning system cost becomes 30% as that of a standard free-standing conditioning system, due to remarkable plant integration: reforming of both tar and methane and particulates abatement is carried out directly in the freeboard of the biomass gasifier, providing investment cost savings greater than 50%, a simplified plant layout with reduction of space and components up to 50% and a hydrogen production cost not exceeding 4€/kg.
High energy density mg-based metal hydrides storage system
EDen aims at building a forefront scientific, technological and industrial expertise in energy storage and recovery system. In the past years hydrogen has been indicated as an advantageous energy carrier under many points of view, mainly environment preservation and high energy density.
The necessity of hydrogen on specific mobile applications and energy backup system is promoted by the growing demand of sustainable solutions and the interface of discontinuous renewable energies.
Hydrogen storage is well known to be the major bottleneck for the use of H2 as energy carrier and despite the huge scientific and industrial effort [fig.1] in developing a novel practical solution for the hydrogen storage, actually there are few storage systems available for nice markets.
The request for energy storage systems is growing as fast as the energy availability from renewable sources, consequently the market is demanding for more performing systems, safer and economic.
It is emerged from the past EU projects (STORHY, NESSHY, COSY, NANOHY, FLYHY) that the hydrogen storage in solid state is the better solution to seek. Between the materials studied for solid state hydrogen storage, Magnesium based systems represent nowadays the major candidate able to meet the industrial storage targets: they have proper gravimetric and energetic density (typical >7 wt.%, ≥ 100 kg H2/m3) and suitable charging and discharging time and pressure.
The main barrier to the wide use of the Magnesium based materials in hydrogen storage system is represented by two limitations: the working temperature of about 300°C and the high heat of reaction, around 10Wh/g.
More specifically, EDen project aims to overtake these limitations by developing and realising an efficient hydrogen storage system that brings together available solutions from the market, the results of the EU projects on hydrogen storage and the development of novel solution for the storing material.
Enhanced performance and cost-effective materials for long-term operation of pem water electrolysers coupled to renewable power sources
The overall objective of the ELECTROHYPEM project is to develop cost-effective components for proton conducting membrane electrolysers with enhanced activity and stability in order to reduce stack and system costs and to improve efficiency, performance and durability. The focus of the project is concerning mainly with low-cost electrocatalysts and membrane development. The project is addressing the validation of these materials in a PEM electrolyser (1 Nm3 H2/h) for residential applications in the presence of renewable power sources. The aim is to contribute to the road-map addressing the achievement of a wide scale decentralised hydrogen production infrastructure. Polymer electrolytes developed in the project concern with novel chemically stabilised ionomers and sulphonated PBI or polysulfone hydrocarbon membranes, as well as their composites with inorganic fillers, characterised by high conductivity and better resistance than conventional Nafion membranes to H2-O2 cross-over and mechanical degradation under high pressure operation. Low noble-metal loading nanosized mixed-oxides (IrRuMOx) oxygen evolution electrocatalysts, highly dispersed on high surface area conductive doped-oxide (TiNbOx, TiTaOx, SnSbOx) or sub-oxides (Ti4O7-like ) will be developed together with novel supported non-precious oxygen evolution electrocatalysts prepared by electrospinning. After appropriate screening of active materials (supports, catalyst, membranes, ionomers) and non-active stack hardware (bipolar plates, coatings) in single cell and short stack, these components will be validated in a PEM electrolyser prototype operating at high pressure in a wide temperature range. The stack will be integrated in a system and assessed in terms of durability under steady-state operating conditions as well as in the presence of current profiles simulating intermittent conditions.
Fast, reliable and cost effective boron hydride based high capacity solid state hydrogen storage materials
BOR4STORE proposes an integrated, multidisciplinary approach for the development and testing of novel, optimised and cost-efficient boron hydride based H2 storage materials with superior performance (capacity more than 8 wt.% and 80 kg H2/m^3) for specific fuel cell applications.
Building on the results of past and ongoing EC funded projects on H2 storage, BOR4STORE aspires to tackle the S&T challenges that still hinder the practical use of the extremely attractive boron hydrides. The technical objectives of the project reflect an innovative and carefully designed strategy involving
(a) new methods for the synthesis and modification of stable and unstable boron hydrides, as well as their combinations resulting in Reactive Hydride Composites and eutectic mixtures,
(b) Systematic and rationalised investigation of the effect of special catalysts and additives, and
(c) Adaptation of scaffolding concepts, in an attempt to use all possible ways for understanding and tailoring the key aspects of boron hydrides H2 storage performance (storage capacity, reaction pathways and enthalpies, hydrogenation/dehydrogenation kinetics, cycling stability).
The most promising material(s), to be indicated by rigorous a down selection processes, will be used for the development of a prototype laboratory H2 storage system that will be integrated and tested in connection with a 1 kW SOFC (representative for fuel cell applications e.g. for stationary power supply).
Special attention will be given, practically for the first time, to significant cost reduction by pursuing cost efficient material synthesis and processing methods (target material price <50 EUR /kg) but also by investigating the level of tolerable impurities of the new materials (target system price 500 EUR /kg of stored H2).
Demonstration of new qualitative innovative concept of hydrogen out of wind turbine electricity
The project “Don Quichote” aims at the long-term demonstration of the readiness of the technology of the combination of renewable electricity and hydrogen; facts-based data generated in this project is the base for analysis for further deployment and implementation of combined systems “renewable electricity – hydrogen”. Linked to the technical demonstration emphasis will be put on analysis of regulation, codes, standards, on LCA/LCI, on total cost of ownership and on implementation ways all over Europe.
Novel materials and system designs for low cost, efficient and durable PEM electrolysers
Water electrolysis based on PEM technology has demonstrated its applicability to produce hydrogen and oxygen in a clean and safe way. Systems have been demonstrated in a wide range of niche applications with capacities from << 1 Nl/hrs to 30 Nm^3/hrs.
PEM electrolysers offer efficiency, safety and compactness benefits over alkaline electrolysers. However, these benefits have not been fully realised in distributed hydrogen generation principally due to high capital costs.
- Principal reasons for high capital costs of present state of the art PEM electrolyser are:
- Use of expensive materials (noble metals, perfluorinated ion-exchange membranes),
- High material usage (e.g. catalyst loading, thickness of bipolar plates),
- Limited durability of the main components (membrane, electrode, current collectors and bipolar plates),
- Complex stack design
This project will take advantage of the progress beyond the state of the art achieved by the partners involved in the NEXPEL project. In the initial phase of this project, durability studies of electrolyser stacks developed in NEXPEL will be performed. The stacks will be run at different operating conditions (low pressure, constant load, fluctuating load coupled with RES). Invaluable data and post mortem analyses can be extracted from this demonstration part of NEXPEL and fed into the further development of novel materials for and design of cost competitive, high efficiency, small scale PEM electrolysers for home/community use.
The functionality of the novel materials will be proved on the laboratory scale with a small electrolysis stack in the 1-kWel range. By minimising electrochemical losses in the stack, a system design will be developed which enables an overall efficiency > 70 % (LHV). The improved materials will also be made available to current developers of PEM electrolysers to allow them to quantify the benefits, and to provide early feedback that will drive ongoing performance improvements
Fully artificial photo-electrochemical device for low temperature hydrogen production
Leaves can split water into O2 and H2 at ambient conditions exploiting sun light. James Barber, one of the key players of ArtipHyction, elucidated Photosystem II (PSII), the enzyme that governs this process. In photosynthesis, H2 is used to reduce CO2 and give rise to the various organic compounds needed by the organisms or even oily compounds which can be used as fuels. However, a specific enzyme, hydrogenase, may lead to non-negligible H2 formation even within natural systems.
Building on the pioneering work performed in a FET project based on natural enzymes (www.solhydromics.org) and the convergence of the work of the physics, materials scientists, chemical engineers and chemists involved in the project, an artificial device will be developed to convert sun energy into H2 with close to 10% efficiency by water splitting at ambient temperature, including:
- An electrode exposed to sunlight carrying a PSII-like chemical mimic deposited upon a suitable transparent electron-conductive porous electrode material (e.g. ITO, FTO)
- A membrane enabling transport of protons via a pulsated thin water gap
- An external wire for electron conduction between electrodes
- A cathode carrying a hydrogenase-enzyme mimic over a porous electron-conducting support in order to recombine protons and electrons into pure molecular hydrogen at the opposite side of the membrane.
A tandem system of sensitizers will be developed at opposite sides of the membrane in order to capture light at different wavelengths so as to boost the electrons potential at the anode for water splitting purposes and to inject electrons at a sufficiently high potential for effective H2 evolution at the cathode. Along with this, the achievement of the highest transparency level of the membrane and the electrodes will be a clear focus of the R&D work.
A proof of concept prototype of about 100 W (3 g/h H2 equivalent) will be assembled and tested by the end of the project for a projected lifetime of >10,000 h.
Low temperature hydrogen production from 2nd generation biomass
The aim of HyTime is to deliver a bioprocess for decentral H2 production from 2nd generation biomass with a productivity of 1-10 kg H2/d. The novel strategy in HyTime is to employ thermophilic bacteria which have shown superior yields in H2 production from biomass in the previous FP6 IP HYVOLUTION.
Biomass in HyTime is grass, straw, molasses or unsold organic goods from supermarkets. The biomass is fractionated and converted to H2 at high efficiency unique for thermophilic fermentation. Dedicated bioreactors and gas upgrading devices for biosystems will be constructed to increase productivity. The H2 production unit will be independent of external energy supply by applying anaerobic digestion to valorize residues. HyTime adds to the security of supply H2 from local sources and eradicates geopolitical dependence.
HyTime builds on HYVOLUTION with 5 partners expanding their research efforts. Three new industrial partners, 2 of which are NEW-IG members, have joined this team with specialist expertise in 2nd generation biomass fractionation and gastechnology. This way a pan-european critical mass in agro- and biotechnological research, the energy and hydrogen sector is assembled to enforce a breakthrough in bioH2 production. The participation of prominent specialists with interdisciplinary competences from academia (1 research institute and 2 universities) and industries (3 SMEs and 2 industries) warrants high scientific quality and rapid commercialization by exploitation of project results and reinforces the European Research Area in sustainable issues.
The partners in HyTime have a complementary value in being developers or stake-holders for new market outlets or starting specialist enterprises stimulating new agro-industrial activities to boost the realization of H2 from renewable resources. The concept of HyTime will facilitate the transition to a hydrogen economy by increasing public awareness of the benefits of a clean and renewable energy carrier.
Hybrid Membrane - Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) Hydrogen Purification Systems
The main goal of the proposed work is the design and testing of hybrid separation schemes that combine membrane and Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) technology for the purification of H2 from a reformate stream that also contains CO2, CO, CH4, and N2. The general objectives comply with SP1-JTI-FCH.2010.2.3: “Development of gas purification technologies”, which is part of the application area SP1-JTI-FCH.2: “Hydrogen production & distribution”.
A hybrid process should combine the very high throughput and purity of a PSA process with a membrane separation process which has lower operating costs. As a result a hybrid process is expected to increase the overall H2 recovery without sacrificing its purity. Furthermore, it provides the means for co-producing CO2 stream ready for capture and sequestration.
In order to achieve this goal the following scientific and technological objectives have been identified the proposed two year project:
- Optimization of the carbon membrane synthesis procedure and scale–up of their production.
- Detailed characterization & generation of transport & adsorption data for the adsorbent and membrane materials
- Investigate the benefits of using layered adsorbents on the PSA performance.
- Simultaneous design, control and optimization of a hybrid PSA membrane separation system.
- Evaluation of membrane material performance under real operating conditions.
- Assembly and testing of a hybrid membrane – PSA separation system.
- Investigation of the potential of generating a CO2 rich stream ready for capture.
Integrated Design for Efficient Advanced Liquefaction of Hydrogen
Hydrogen is an important energy carrier as a viable future clean transport fuel. H2-fuelled vehicles are affordable, infrastructure investments are manageable and H2 and electric mobility are required to meet future CO2 emission targets. Plans are made to implement H2-refuelling infrastructure in Germany followed by roll-out over Europe by 2015. Logistically, liquid H2 appears the only viable option to supply the larger stations in the medium term. Without developing a liquefaction capacity, there is a serious risk to H2-infrastructure development and implementation. However, at present liquefaction of H2 is expensive, energy intensive and relatively small scale. Reduction of liquefaction costs via technology development and increased competition is crucial.
IDEALHY is an enabling project for viable, economic liquefaction capacity in Europe, to accelerate rational infrastructure investment, and enable the rapid spread of H2-refuelling stations across Europe. The IDEALHY project researches, develops and scales-up data and designs into an optimised design for a generic liquefaction process at a scale of 30-50 te/day, representing a very substantial upscale over proposed and existing LH2-plants. The project also develops a detailed strategic plan for a prospective large-scale demonstration of efficient H2-liquefaction with options for location. The focus is to improve substantially efficiency and reduce capital costs of liquefaction through innovations, including linking LH2 production with LNG terminal operations to make use of available cryogenic temperatures for pre-cooling. Supporting economic and lifecycle assessment of the resulting gains in energy efficiency will be made, together with a whole chain assessment based on near term market requirements.
IDEALHY will be undertaken by a partnership comprising world leaders in H2 distribution and liquefaction technologies, research institutes, academic partners and pioneering SME suppliers to the liquefaction indus".
Hydrogen from RES: pressurised alkaline electrolyser with high efficiency and wide operating range
The project RESelyser develops high pressure, highly efficient, low cost alkaline water electrolysers that can be integrated with renewable energy power sources (RES) using an advanced membrane concept, highly efficient electrodes and a new cell concept. A new concept with a three electrolyte loop system will be developed demonstrating even higher performance than conventional two electrolyte loop systems. This three electrolyte loop system will use a new separator membrane with internal electrolyte circulation and an adapted cell to improve mass transfer, especially gas evacuation. Intermittent and varying load operation connected to an RES will be addressed by improved electrode stability and a cell concept for increasing the gas purity of hydrogen and oxygen especially at low power as well as by a system concept. Electrolysers up to 10 kW with 2 Nm^3/h hydrogen production will be realized in the project. The primary pressure of the electrolyser will be up to 50 bar (without the use of a compressor) to reduce the power loss for hydrogen compression to a minimum. All components of the system will be analyzed for their costs and developed to reduce the system price such that hydrogen can be produced at system costs of 3000 € per (Nm^3/h) plant capacity. An extrapolation to a primary electrolyser pressure of 100-150 bar is considered.
Improvements to Integrate High Pressure Alkaline electrolyzers for Electricity/H2 production from Renewable Energies to Balance the GRID
ELYGRID Project aims at contributing to the reduction of the total cost of hydrogen produced via electrolysis couple to Renewable Energy Sources, mainly wind turbines, and focusing on megawatt size electrolyzes (from 0,5 MW and up). The objectives are to improve the efficiency related to complete system by 20 % (10 % related to the stack, and 10 % electrical conversion) and to reduce costs by 25%. The work will be structured in 3 different parts, namely: cells improvements, power electronics, and balance of plant (BOP). Two scalable prototype electrolyzers will be tested in facilities which allows feeding with renewable energies (photovoltaic and wind).
New Method for Superior Integrated Hydrogen Generation System 2+
Decentralized hydrogen production at refuelling stations has great potential to accelerate market introduction of hydrogen-powered vehicles. Based on the outcome of the previous NEMESIS project under FP6 the overall objective of the proposed NEMESIS 2+ project is the development of a small-scale hydrogen generation prototype capable of producing 50 standard cubic metres of hydrogen per hour from diesel and biodiesel at refuelling stations. Reduction of hydrogen production costs and an increase of reliability and efficiency of the hydrogen generation system will be the major objectives.
Special emphasis will be placed on liquid desulphurisation prior to the catalytic conversion step. Based on the promising results from the NEMESIS project, a desulphurisation module based on liquid adsorption for continuous operation will be built and tested with fossil diesel, biodiesel and biodiesel blends. Thereby severe problems relating to catalyst deactivation can be avoided or at least minimized. This will be supplemented by the development of sulphur-tolerant reforming and water gas shift catalysts and the development of catalyst regeneration strategies. The liquid desulphurisation module will be connected to a reformer module based on a modified steam reforming technology owned by HyGear. By a subsequent water gas shift stage and a pressure swing adsorption unit a hydrogen purity of 5.0 (99,999 %) is achieved. In order to be able to run on liquid fuels as well as on off-gas from the hydrogen purification unit, a dedicated dual fuel burner will be developed within NEMESIS2+. Once the prototype modules (desulphurisation module, multi-fuel catalyst, reformer module) are integrated into the prototype unit the system will be tested for at least 1000 hours. Work will be completed by a techno-economic evaluation of the prototype hydrogen generation system (Cost analysis, Study on integration into refuelling stations).
Optimisation of Transport Solutions for Compressed Hydrogen
Compressed hydrogen trailers are cost efficient for near term distribution. However, with the currently used 20 MPa trailers the supply of larger refuelling stations would result in multiple truck deliveries per day, which is often not acceptable. In order to increase the transported quantities, lighter materials and higher pressure must be adopted. The cost increase of the hydrogen trailers resulting from advanced technology can be off-set by the distribution cost savings from increased truck capacity.
This project will assess the effects that can be achieved by the introduction of high capacity trailers composed of composite tanks with respect to weight, safety, energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions.
Transport of compressed hydrogen today is strictly regulated by international and regional regulations. New materials and product capacities available today have the potential to increase the payload of a single trailer from about 350 kg hydrogen today to more than 1000 kg. Materialising this potential is therefore of great importance for the efficient distribution of hydrogen to refuelling stations with high throughput. This will require changes to existing Regulations, Codes and Standards (RCS) in particular for proof pressures higher than 65 MPa and tubes larger than 3000 litres. Adopting these changes is a time consuming process and will only happen if authorities are convinced that the necessary safety precautions are taken care of to achieve a level of safety at least as high as observed with today’s distribution technologies for hydrogen.
The proposed project will address these challenges by means of a detailed assessment of safety, environmental and techno-economic impacts of the use of higher capacity trailers and subsequently by the development of a preliminary action plan leading to a Roadmap for the required RCS amendments, which will be communicated to the authorities in charge.
Compact Multifuel-Energy to Hydrogen converter
Sustainable decentralized hydrogen production requires development of efficient fuel-flexible units adaptable to renewable sources.
CoMETHy aims at developing a compact steam reformer to convert reformable fuels (methane, bioethanol, glycerol, etc.) to pure hydrogen, adaptable to several heat sources (solar, biomass, fossil, refuse derived fuels, etc.) depending on the locally available energy mix.
The following systems and components will be developed:
- A structured open-celled catalyst for the low-temperature (< 550°C) steam reforming processes
- A membrane reactor to separate hydrogen from the gas mixture
- The use of an intermediate low-cost and environmentally friendly liquid heat transfer fluid (molten nitrates) to supply process heat from a multi fuel system.
Reducing reforming temperatures below 550°C by itself will significantly reduce material costs.
The process involves heat collection from several energy sources and its storage as sensible heat of a molten salts mixture at 550°C. This molten salt stream provides the process heat to the steam reformer, steam generator, and other units.
The choice of molten salts as heat transfer fluid allows:
- Improved compactness of the reformer;
- Rapid and frequent start-up operations with minor material ageing concerns;
- Improved heat recovery capability from different external sources;
- Coupling with intermittent renewable sources like solar in the medium-long term, using efficient heat storage to provide the renewable heat when required.
Methane, either from desulfurized natural gas or biogas, will be considered as a reference feed material to be converted to hydrogen. The same system is flexible also in terms of the reformable feedstock: bioethanol and/or glycerol can be converted to hydrogen following the same reforming route.
The project involves RTD activities ion the single components, followed by proof-of-concept of the integrated system at the pilot scale (2 Nm2/h of hydrogen) and cost-benefit analysis.
ADvanced ELectrolyser for Hydrogen Production with Renewable Energy Sources
The ADEL project (ADvanced ELectrolyser for Hydrogen Production with Renewable Energy Sources) proposes to develop a new steam electrolyser concept named Intermediate Temperature Steam Electrolysis (ITSE) aiming at optimizing the electrolyser life time by decreasing its operating temperature while maintaining satisfactory performance level and high energy efficiency at the level of the complete system including the heat and power source and the electrolyser unit. The relevance of this ITSE will be assessed both at the stack level based on performance and durability tests followed by in depth post-test analysis and at the system level based on flow sheets and energy efficiency calculations.
FUEL CELL COUPLED SOLID STATE HYDROGEN STORAGE TANK
The main objective of SSH2S is to develop a full tank-FC integrated system according to the requirements of the call and to demonstrate its application on a real system. A new class of material for hydrogen storage (i.e. MM'(BH4) mixed boroydrides) as well as an already known system (Li-Mg-N-H) will be explored. A new concept of solid state hydrogen tank (i.e. combination of two materials) will be investigated. The application of hydrogen tank on real system will be experimented with a 1 kW prototype on High Temperature Polymer Electrolyte Membrane (HTPEM) fuel cells. On the basis of the results obtained in the first part of the project, an ON/OFF milestone will be considered. If suitable performances will be obtained for the prototype integrated system, a scale up of the tank will be applied to a 5 kW APU.
The final goal is to clearly demonstrate the applicability of the proposed integrated system in real applications. This final step in the project will allow a critical analysis of the system cost.
For this goal, a consortium has been developed with the following expertise:
- Materials development, synthesis and characterisation: UNITO, IFE, KIT, JRC
- Tank design and production: DLR, TD, KIT, UNITO, JRC
- Tank-FC integration and demonstration: DLR, TD, SER, CRF, UNITO
The consortium is well balanced among research centres, for basic materials research and modelling, and industries, for system development and test. All research centres are members of N.ERGHY and one industry is member of the IG of the FCH-JU. Two industries are SME.
SCALE UP OF THERMOCHEMICAL HYDROGEN PRODUCTION IN A SOLAR MONOLITHIC REACTOR: A 3RD GENERATION DESIGN STUDY
HYDROSOL-3D aims at the preparation of a demonstration of a CO2-free hydrogen production and provision process and related technology, using two-step thermochemical water splitting cycles by concentrated solar radiation. This process has been developed in the frame of EU co-financed projects within FP5 and FP6. From the initial idea over the proof of principle and over several steps of improvement - that have awarded to project HYDROSOL the EU “2006 Descartes Prize for Collaborative Scientific Research” - the technology has recently reached the status of a pilot plant demonstration in a 100 kW scale showing that hydrogen production via thermochemical water splitting is possible on a solar tower under realistic conditions. The present project focuses on the next step towards commercialisation carrying out all activities necessary to prepare the erection of a 1 MW solar demonstration plant. HYDROSOL-3D concerns the pre-design and design of the whole plant including the solar hydrogen reactor and all necessary upstream and downstream units needed to feed in the reactants and separate and bottle the products. Two alternative options will be analyzed: adapting the hydrogen production plant to an already available solar facility or developing a new, completely optimised hydrogen production/solar plant. The most promising option will be analysed in detail, establishing the complete plant layout and defining and sizing all necessary components. Validation of pre-design components and process strategies by experiments (in laboratory, solar furnace, solar simulator and solar tower facilities) and a detailed techno-economic analysis covering market introduction will complement the project. The HYDROSOL-3D consortium has been built accordingly bringing together the experience and knowledge elaborated in all the R& amp;D work carried out up to the current status of HYDROSOL projects, with industrial leaders and innovative SME’s capable to bring the technology to maturity and to the market.
Next-Generation PEM Electrolyser for Sustainable Hydrogen Production
The main objective of the NEXPEL project, a successful demonstration of an efficient PEM electrolyser integrated with Renewable Energy Sources, supports the overall vision to establish hydrogen as an energy carrier in a large range of applications in the near future. The very ambitious objectives in the call will be addressed by a top class European consortium which is carefully balanced between leading R&D organisations and major industrial actors from 4 member states. An iterative approach between system, sub systems and components will be applied to define its cost, performance and ecological targets. This will be accompanied by a design to cost exercise as part of the life cycle analysis. Efficiency greater than 75% will be achieved by - developing more effective electrodes - adapting highly conductive new membrane materials - increasing the operating temperature for increased kinetics - lowering the hydrogen cross over using denser membranes - increasing the system pressure to reduce pump losses A stack life time towards 40 000 h will be achieved by - reducing hydrogen cross over reducing chemical degradation by peroxides - developing more stable catalysts, porous current collectors and bipolar plates - designing stack which minimizes temperature and mechanical stress gradients - developing high efficient advanced power electronic minimising load stress for the electrolyser Reducing system costs to EURO 5,000/Nm3 is a major driving force and will be addressed by - replacing/reducing of expensive materials (PFSA membrane, Pt loading, titanium) - increasing the performance of components and sub-systems - simplifying the system - developing components suitable for mass production The consortium is confident that the dissemination and exploitation of the project will create considerable impact especially in terms of Europe’s energy security, reducing greenhouse gas emission and increasing Europe’s competitiveness.
Pressurised PEM Electrolyzer stack
The primary objective of the PrimoLyser project is to develop, construct, and test a cost-minimised highly efficient and durable PEM-electrolyser stack aimed for integrated with domestic µCHPs through a combination of the following activities:
1) Specification done by the end-user(s);
2) Basic material R&D on catalyst & membrane to increase durability & efficiency while reducing cost;
3) Process development to fabricate high performance MEAs;
4) Engineering of a durable, reliable, and robust high pressure PEM stack through CFD modelling and design optimisation;
5) Continuous test for 2,000 hours together with a 1.5 kW µCHP; and
6) An evaluation headed by the end-user(s)
The key-targets for the stack are as follows:
A) Hydrogen production capacity: 1 Nm3/h;
B) Pressure: 10 MPa (100 bar);
C) 1.68 V @ 1.2 A/cm2 not only at BoL but also after 2,000 hours of continuous operation;
D) Cost: <5,000 € per Nm3 H2 production capacity per hour in series production; and
E) Durability: >20,000 hours @ constant load
Furthermore, the stack will be liquid cooled to enhance durability and enable easy heat utilisation. This is important as a PEM electrolyser operated with renewable will run when the electricity is cheap and therefore not simultaneous with the µCHP.
The PrimoLyser project is scheduled for 2.5 years. The present proposal is phase I in a 2 step development, where phase II will comprise BoP development & full integration of the electrolyser with a µCHP followed by a field test.
The Consortium is well balanced, with the following 6 partners complementing one another to achieve the project target goals: i) A PEM FC manufacturing company (IRD Fuel Cells A/S [SME], DK); ii) 3 research centres and universities VTT (FI), Åbo Akademi (FI) & ECN (NL); iii) A leading manufacturer of ion exchange polymers and membranes (Fumatech (DE)); and iv) A subsidiary utility company (Abengoa-Hynergreen [ES])
High temperature electrolyser with novel proton ceramic tubular modules of superior efficiency, robustness, and lifetime economy
High temperature electrolysers (HTEs) produce H2 efficiently utilising electricity from renewable sources and steam from solar, geothermal, or nuclear plants. CO2 can be co-electrolysed to produce syngas and fuels. The traditional solid oxide electrolyser cell (SOEC) leaves wet H2 at the steam side. ELECTRA in contrast develops a proton ceramic electrolyser cell (PCEC) which pumps out and pressurises dry H2 directly. Delamination of electrodes due to O2 bubbles in SOECs is alleviated in PCECs. The proton conductor is based on state-of-the-art Y:BaZrO3 (BZY) using reactive sintering for dense large-grained films, low grain boundary resistance, and high stability and mechanical strength. A PCEC can favourably reduce CO2 to syngas in co-ionic mode. Existing HTEs utilise the high packing density of planar stacks, but the hot seal and vulnerability to single cell breakdown give high stack rejection rate and questionable durability and lifetime economy. ELECTRA uses instead tubular segmented cells, mounted in a novel module with cold seals that allows monitoring and replacement of individual tubes from the cold side. The tubes are developed along 3 design generations with increasing efforts and rewards towards electrochemical performance and sustainable mass scale production. Electrodes and electrolyte are applied using spraying/dipping and a novel solid state reactive sintering approach, facilitating sintering of BZY materials. ELECTRA emphasises development of H2O-O2 anode and its current collection. It will show a kW-size multi-tube module producing 250 L/h H2 and CO2 to syngas co-electrolysis with DME production. Partners excel in ceramic proton conductors, industry-scale ceramics, tubular electrochemical cells, and integration of these in renewable energy schemes including geothermal, wind and solar power. The project counts 7 partners (4 SMEs/industry), is coordinated by University of Oslo, and runs for 3 years.