Integrated Design for Efficient Advanced Liquefaction of Hydrogen

Framework Programme: 
Call for proposals: 
Application area: 
Hydrogen production & Distribution

Key Objectives of the project

IDEALHY brings together world experts to develop a generic process design and plan for a prospective large scale demonstration of efficient hydrogen liquefaction in the range of up to 200 tonnes per day. This represents a substantial scale up compared to proposed and existing hydrogen liquefaction plants in Europe.

The project carries out a detailed investigation of different steps in the liquefaction process, bringing innovations and greater integration in an effort to reduce specific energy consumption by 50% compared to existing plants, and simultaneously to reduce investment cost.

IDEALHY will carry out a well-to-end-user analysis to illustrate the role of liquid hydrogen in the energy chain, with an assessment of safety and risk mitigation in the overall chain for liquid hydrogen.


Challenges/issues addressed

Hydrogen is expected to be an important future clean transport fuel. In the absence of a pipeline network, liquid hydrogen is the most effective way to supply larger refuelling stations in the medium term. Without developing sufficient liquefaction capacity, it may be impossible to operate hydrogen stations of the same size as current liquid fuel stations. However, liquefaction of hydrogen is expensive, energy intensive and relatively small scale today. The project is essentially about enabling viable, economic liquefaction capacity in Europe, to increase economic transportation of hydrogen to refuelling stations and thereby to accelerate rational infrastructure investment. Plans are already underway to implement a hydrogen refuelling infrastructure in Europe, in preparation of the commercialisation of fuel cell vehicles from 2015, and this project will support the roll-out of hydrogen refuelling stations.


Technical approach/objectives

The work plan begins with a conceptual design based on existing processes. This introduces a whole range of innovations in the sub-systems of the liquefier, and modelling and assessment will be used to identify and focus on the most promising configurations. These will then be analysed and detailed optimisation of the options carried out to obtain the most energy and cost-efficient design option(s).

Alongside these activities a whole-chain analysis will be carried out, comprising techno-economic assessments, emissions and scenarios for the liquid hydrogen production-distribution, and including safety implications of the proposed large scale process developed. In the final part of the technical programme, a proposal will be developed for a demonstrating the process in a later phase.

The proposal will be based on the commercial partners’ strategic plans for supplying hydrogen for fuelling, and includes options for location of the planned demo, with consideration of available hydrogen supplies and nearby customer markets.


Expected socio and economic impact

The project contributes to energy security via reduction of fossil fuels dependence through accelerated hydrogen market development, as well as through improvements in hydrogen transport from production to demand areas within and without Europe. Additionally, the project will give emissions reductions by increasing the market share of hydrogen and accelerating replacement of fossil fuels by hydrogen in transport vehicles; it will also reduce the number of hydrogen distribution trucks required to supply retail stations. The project increases competitiveness by removing barriers to the wider introduction of hydrogen as an energy carrier for retail customer usage, and introduces an additional option for large scale hydrogen supply, to compete with existing distribution methods.

Finally, the societal benefits of IDEALHY include more stations where hydrogen is available and a reduced cost for that hydrogen, together with improved public acceptance of H2 as a safe and environmentally friendly fuel.

Project reference: 
SP1-JTI-FCH.2010.2.5 - Preparation of demonstration of efficient large-scale hydrogen liquefaction
Project type: 
Research and technological development
Contract type: 
Collaborative Project
Start date: 
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
End date: 
Thursday, October 31, 2013
24 months
Project cost: 
€ 2,117,530
Project funding: 
€ 1,295,541

Shell Global Solutions International B.V., The Netherlands

Dr Jurgen.J.Louis
Contact email: 
Other participating organisations: 
Participant Country
Linde Kryotechnik AG Switzerland
Sintef Energi AS Norway
Loughborough University United Kingdom
Technische Universitaet Dresden Germany
North Energy Associates Limited United Kingdom
WEKA AG Switzerland
PLANET Planungsgruppe Energie und Technik GBR         Germany