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Experts and knowledge

Innovation opportunities in the current hydrogen cycle.

The current hydrogen cycle presents great opportunities related to innovation in its production, storage, transport, distribution, end use applications and safety.
Oportunidades de innovación en el ciclo actual del hidrógeno
Experts and knowledge
Content type
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Editorial Dept
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5 minutes
20 Jul 2021

In hydrogen production

Currently, in the process of reforming with natural gas steam, the great sticking point is the capture of the resulting CO2, and this is where processes are needed to integrate capture technologies. In addition, the small-scale reforming process is currently inefficient and requires more efficient solutions to in-situ hydrogen production.

With regard to electrolyzers, Europe is well positioned, but it needs to increase its capacity, its efficiency and improve the cost. Solid oxide electrolyzers operate at very high temperatures and achieve much higher efficiency than alkalis and PEMs, it is a very promising technology, but very little developed and it is not yet commercially deployed.

PEM electrolysers use scarce metals like platinum and finding alternatives is also a great opportunity. The great general challenge in electrolyzers is scaling them up to largescale production and durability.

Beyond electrolyzers, we are seeing the emergence of alternative technologies for the production of hydrogen and graphite from biogas, photoelectrolysis etc.

Electricidad renovable Electrólisis Subproducto Almacenamiento (cavidades salinas, depósitos de almacenamiento) Hidrógeno a partir de biomasa Hidrógeno azul con CAUC Metanización CO 2 (CC) Reelectrificación(Power-to-Power) Energía Edificios Hidrógeno importado Transporte aéreo Uso industrial Vehículos eléctricos de pila de combustible Enlaces Red de gas Industria Materia prima industrial Calor de altatemperatura (>650ºC) Trenes de pilade combustible Transporte marítimo

Regarding storage

Beyond geological storage, short-term, and small-volume methods, there are pressurized deposits. There are great challenges in compression systems, without moving parts, which are more efficient. Regarding compressed hydrogen tanks, there is a lack of development of prototype high resistance adaptable tanks. .

In the case of liquefied hydrogen, it is a challenge to reduce liquefaction costs, and to reduce losses due to evaporation in transit. And in the long term and in large quantities, with liquid carriers such as ammonia, its storage and production is very cheap, there are opportunities in the conversion of hydrogen into ammonia and especially the reverse process of decomposition of ammonia back into hydrogen. There are opportunities to find other liquid carriers besides ammonia

In its transport

Depending on the volume and distance, its efficiency varies. The transport of hydrogen by pipeline implies the use of the gas network and there are opportunities to adapt it to hydrogen and hydrogen mixtures: materials, components, mixing separation systems etc.

In distribution

Hydrogen stations have much capacity for development in storage and compression systems, safety equipment, sensors, and above all in the integration of all elements of the supply chain..

In final applications

Fuel cells are constantly improving; right now they have pollution problems and need more efficient processes to operate and improve performance. The technological challenges revolve around reducing costs and increasing durability.

Other end equipment

Such as gas turbines, hydrogen combustion engines and hydrogen boilers will, in future, be developed and play a leading role..

In safety

In all processes, hydrogen has a high degree of diffusivity and dispersion in the air and there is a challenge there to guarantee ventilation and avoid gas pockets.

When hydrogen burns it is odorless and invisible to the naked eye; you can add additives or implement monitoring systems. Its propensity for leaks is very great and all the systems that monitor the systems and prevent those leaks will be very interesting challenges.

A relatively safe gas

In outdoor applications, such as mobility, given the volumes that are handled, its safety is very high.

Regarding its industrial or massive use, however, much more control is needed, as is regulation and the implementation of the safety standards associated with evacuation in case of leakage.

Un gas relativamente seguro


Hydrogen is a mature enough sector to provide guarantees for those who are banking on its development. Established and strongly promoted by states and institutions as a great actor for the future, this new sector promises great growth in the short, medium and long term.

Information obtained through the hydrogen cycle, organised by Adegi. Webinar participants and speakers:

  • Samuel Pérez Ramírez: Iberdrola Innovation, Sustainability and Quality division..
  • Javier Rodríguez: Managing director of Cidetec Energy Storage.
  • Arturo Fernández Goyenechea: Innovation manager at Petronor.
  • Imanol Iturrioz: Head of R&D at the CAF Group.
  • Javier Brey Sánchez: Chairman of the Spanish Hydrogen Association and H2B2 founder and CEO.
  • Fernando Espiga: Head of Energy Transition at Tecnalia.
  • Raquel Azcárraga: Head of Sustainability at Bankinter.