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Innovation opportunities in the current hydrogen cycle

22.06.2021 Written by: Editorial Dept

Electricity commodity. Electrolysis By-product Storage (saline cavities, storage deposits) Hydrogen from biomass Blue hydrogen with CAUC Methanization CO 2 (CC) Reelectrification(Power-to-Power) Energy Buildings Imported hydrogen Air transport Industrial use Vehicles Battery powered fuel powered Links Gas network Industry Material renewable for industry High heattemperature (> 650ºC) Stack trainsfuel powered Air transport
  • 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.

  • 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.

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

Samuel Perez Ramirez

Iberdrola Innovation, Sustainability and Quality division.

Javier Rodriguez

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.

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