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thyssenkrupp offering large-scale water electrolysis

thyssenkrupp recently introduced industrial-scale water electrolysis for large projects. By splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen, this technology delivers “green” hydrogen, a clean, CO2-free energy carrier. The only inputs needed are water and renewable electricity from wind, hydro power or photovoltaics.

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20 MW module.

“Green” hydrogen production is suited for long-term energy storage, hydrogen mobility and other applications, making optimal use of renewable energy sources.

thyssenkrupp says that its solution makes large-scale hydrogen production from electricity economically attractive. The advanced water electrolysis features a well-proven cell design paired with an especially large active cell area of 2.7 m2. By further optimizing the proven “Zero-Gap” electrolysis technology (leaving virtually no gap between membrane and electrodes), very high efficiencies of more than 82% are achieved.

To make deployment of large hydrogen projects as easy as possible, the thyssenkrupp technology is available in pre-fabricated, skid-mounted standard modules. They easily add up to the desired project size, potentially into the hundreds of megawatt range.

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The patented design is based on thyssenkrupp’s well-proven, leading electrolysis technologies. To date, the Group company thyssenkrupp Uhde Chlorine Engineers has successfully completed more than 600 electrochemical plants worldwide.

Within the Carbon2Chem project, one of the global flagship projects for carbon-neutral value chains, the advanced alkaline water electrolysis by thyssenkrupp was already commissioned successfully. It will provide the necessary hydrogen for producing chemicals from steel plant flue gas.

Hydrogen is not only a clean energy carrier, be it for long-term energy storage in the gas grid, or for clean fuels e.g. for fuel cell mobility. When produced from renewable energy, it can make the production of key chemicals sustainable. One good example is “green” ammonia: With the water electrolysis technology and its world-class ammonia process, thyssenkrupp can deliver integrated plants which can produce ammonia from nothing but water, air and sunlight or wind. The ammonia can be further processed into fertilizers. (Earlier post.)

As a specialist in chemical plant engineering and construction, thyssenkrupp can realize additional value chains, e.g. for “green” methanol, which can enable carbon recycling to generate sustainable fuel. Further “power-to-gas” solutions include methanation for the production of synthetic natural gas (SNG).

Comments

Davemart

Electrolysis and hydrogen give us the tools needed to decarbonise in ways that batteries never can.

For instance steelmaking:

https://fuelcellsworks.com/news/steeling-from-fossil-fuels-austrians-to-power-steel-industry-entirely-on-clean-hydrogen/

The video in the article here also mentions ammonia, production of which is another massive source of emissions at the moment.

Thomas Pedersen

The emergence of very cheap solar and wind power leads me to think that aircraft OEMs should really revisit the concept of hydrogen powered air crafts. Using liquid hydrogen, there would be a cooling medium available for low-temperature super-conducting electric motors.

But can fuel cells be made powerful and light enough to power a plane, say at cruising load +20%? Takeoff load would come from batteries, making the plane a PHEP.

Or is is better to accept the additional losses by converting the hydrogen to synthetic hydrocarbons?

PS. I wonder how they calculate the efficiency of the electrolysis process. It is known that there is the loss of evaporating the water (the liquid water is turned into gaseous hydrogen and oxygen).

thyssenkrupp has stated 82% efficiency at HHV, whereas Wikipedia states that LHV should be used for electrolysers that require liquid water supply (other types, such as PEM and SOEC can use steam generated from waste heat). In that case the efficiency ends up at 69,7% based on LHV.

Engineer-Poet

There was an Airbus concept of a hydrogen-powered A380 some time ago.  The hydrogen tank ran along the top of the fuselage and was bigger in diameter than the passenger cabin; it made the plane look like it had hydrocephalus.  Can't find that pic now.

There's a reason that hydrogen isn't going anywhere.

https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-11707135

HarveyD

This type of highly efficient (82%) large modular electrolysers could be ideal to transform and store low cost green e-energy into H2 for long periods. The large amount of clean H2 produced could be distributed for future H2 vehicles, trains, ships and airplanes and fixed e-energy generation. .

Davemart

Ignoring 8 year old negative reports eagerly seized upon by the prejudiced there are issues in using hydrogen for commercial aircraft as the storage is still weighty and not very compact.

This route may be more realistic in my view:

'Borer has an idea: Make the X-57 a hydrogen fuel cell aircraft that runs on diesel.

"We're going to pitch that as a flight program. And what will be kind of interesting about that is, for the same weight as what we have for batteries on X‑57, we go from 40 minutes of flight to about three and a half hours."

Fuel cells generate electricity to power electric motors, generally with oxygen from the air and compressed hydrogen. The resulting emissions are nothing more than heat and water. But you don't need hydrogen fuel to power a fuel cell—you can use diesel. "You can store diesel fuel on this airplane, and it converts that," Borer says. "It rips the hydrogen off of the diesel fuel." The diesel fuel cell system does end up producing some carbon dioxide, but only about half as much fuel is needed compared to piston engines.'
https://www.popularmechanics.com/flight/a26609/nasa-plane-electric-x-57-maxwell/

That is still for relatively light aircraft, it is being compared to piston not jet planes, and would take a heck of a lot of doing.

What is realistic is fuel cells for ancillary power, which would reduce pollution considerably in taxiing around the airport and so on.

Aeroplanes are about the toughest application imaginable though, but all sorts of things like buses, trucks, trains and cars are perfectly reasonable and are starting deployment right now.

Kellsey Johannes

How about as a source of clean water post-fuel cell use as well? seems to me that waste or sea water could be fed into these electrolysers along with renewable energy and then run through fuel cells for on demand power with the "exhaust" water cleaned up for consumption. At 82% efficiency on the splitting side and ~70% efficiency on the fuel cell side you're still above 50% for your renewable power-on-demand plus you've saved yourself the energy needed for de-salinization of the clean water which in a lot of markets is about to become the most valuable commodity.

Engineer-Poet
"... for the same weight as what we have for batteries on X‑57, we go from 40 minutes of flight to about three and a half hours."

3.5 hours is on the low side for a piston-engine plane.  The lowly C-152 carries 26 gallons and burns about 6 gph at medium cruise.  You can easily stretch that to 5 hours at economy cruise.

What is realistic is fuel cells for ancillary power, which would reduce pollution considerably in taxiing around the airport and so on.

Indeed, and there have already been powered nosewheels tested, but you'd need to increase the power to handle taxi demands as well as A/C and avionics and the passenger cabin and everything else.

Ignoring 8 year old negative reports eagerly seized upon by the prejudiced

You say this, and then quote NASA proposing the use of diesel in lieu of H2.  Irony.

Engineer-Poet
seems to me that waste or sea water could be fed into these electrolysers

You probably don't want the contaminants in either inside your expensive electrolysis cell.  About the only way you'd want to manage that is with a high osmotic pressure electrolyte and use forward osmosis to pull water out of your wastewater or seawater as the first step, excluding anything that might leave gunk on your PEM or electrodes.

The funny part is that forward osmosis using river water against seawater could generate massive amounts of energy, and it's an energy source we're totally ignoring.

Lad

If HyperLoops are perfected, high speed domestic air travel will be redundant and air travel will be mostly use over the oceans, provided by hybrid aircraft launched to cruise altitude by booster turbines and maintained at cruise speed by hydrogen fuel cells and ducted electric fans.

It's interesting to read where more and more clean power providers have surplus electricity that they must dump or sell at a loss. One such provider is considering pumped water storage behind Hoover dam. Seems to me that creating hydrogen in storage would be a good use of this surplus.

Arnold

Davemarts link to steelmaking describes a 6 MW electrolysis plant associated with steel production.
Lad makes the point that renewables are variable and are often producing surplus. Hydro is not without problems and cannot be understood as scale-able for numerous reasons. The recent dam collapse disaster in Laos is one example, but numerous environmental concerns and examples of poor planning and outcomes in this area are well documented.

Many have made the point that renewables would ideally be scaled to several times or between 2X to 4X to overcome demand requirement with solar needing either time zone or storage considerations including smart grid solutions.
Future R.E. expansions successfull economic outcomes and expanded demands could conceivably absorb R.E. nameplate generation to 8X-10X demand I.M.O.

In the case of steel making or critical online demand it would seem that uninterruptible energy is important. Domestically we use UPS from KW/h for computers offices etc. The described steelmakers 6MW is probably large enough to be useful as a storage / levelling ancillary for the district needs as such for power supply hardening it is not hard to see the attractiveness of such a development.
There are probably other aspects and areas of interest to the promoters of this concept that have expectation of economic returns.
The economics may compare well with battery options however as the technology is still very early the costs are not well understood.

gryf

This is about 'green' ammonia. ThyssenKrupp has been making ammonia plants since 1928 and electrolysis equipment since the 1950's primarily for the Uhde Chlorine business. It is a building a demonstration plant in Port Lincoln, South Australia that will be "one of the first ever commercial plants to produce CO2-free 'green' ammonia from intermittent renewable resources."

Davemart

' quote NASA proposing the use of diesel in lieu of H2. Irony.'

And my comment on the link was:

'That is still for relatively light aircraft, it is being compared to piston not jet planes, and would take a heck of a lot of doing.'

Not exactly overboard with enthusiasm, was I?

The point was that for aircraft if the reformation can be managed diesel is superior for aircraft, so I was critiquing hydrogen in the application, instead of going overboard in praising it in all circumstances, as some tend to do about their favoured approaches

Davemart

Easyjet have been trialling fuel cell based aircraft taxiing along with other systems such as electric tugs since 2016

I am not sure how they are getting on.
http://sustainableskies.org/fuel-cells-for-taxiing/

Davemart

Arnold:

The hydrogen is storable for long periods, and so intermittency is not a problem.

Davemart

Arnold:

I think you are right, and what is going on here is testing hydrogen for annealing etc, rather than at this stage for the power.

After all, we pretty well know the process to do the later, even though we have to work on the economics etc, whereas the former needs to be thoroughly tested to ensure it will work in practise before it is deployed at scale.

So it is replacing coal and coke as a test facility.

Calgarygary

How much surplus renewable energy can you get? Even if you have dedicated solar and wind farms that that produce electricity at different times during the day you are unlikely to have electricity for much more than 50% of the time. In reality there would be overlap so even with dedicated sources the utilization rate of the electrolyzer would be less than 50%.

If you are relying on surpluses from the grid then you have to compete with other load shifting methods like pump storage, battery storage, ice storage etc. There may be some free electricity today, but how long will that last? To make this work at any sort of significant scale, if the plant is to be reliant on cheap electricity, I expect that the capital and operational costs of the plant will need to be low enough to be cost effective at a fairly low utilization rate.

SJC

It looks like they use the oxygen for steel.

Engineer-Poet

There are already effort to directly synthesize ammonia by electrolysis.  Given that ammonia is energetically downhill from hydrogen+nitrogen, that should be more efficient than going through the H2 intermediary.

Calgarygary, if you look at the report on the January grid crisis of the NE-ISO you'll see that wind curtailment occurred (presumably due to transmission constraints) despite desperate need for electric power due to gas pipeline limitations and high gas demand.  Given that the capacity of the lines doesn't change with the weather, this is all but certainly a regular thing under windy conditions.  So yes, there is definitely power being thrown away that you could probably get for little or nothing... if you can locate at the generation site.  Not so much for things located at the load ends of such lines, which is where your steel plants are going to be.

Davemart

Calgarygary:

I found the rate of utilisation of the electrolysers using surplus renewables difficult to understand too, at any reasonable cost.

It seems though that they reckon that costs are reducing fast enough to make it viable though.

They are helped somewhat by wind and solar peaking in an unrelated manner.

IMO though it seems more likely that since hydrogen is transportable it would be produced largely where land is very cheap and there is loads of sun.

And for nuclear fans, yep, I would still like to use that for baseload but I don't waste too much time mourning what is not happening.

Instead I try to figure out what is viable with what is going on.

HarveyD

USA's mid-west States have a lot of unharnessed wind energy. Larger Turbines installed on higher towers can capture a lot more energy, specially after sunset when winds are normally better.

Larger turbines on higher towers have next to no (negative) effects on farming and positive effects in certain areas. Negative effects on birds/bats and bees are a lot less than large buildings and chemicals used on crops, gardens and lawns.

Improved solar cells, roof mounted and/or installed in existing desert non-productive lands could supply all the energy required (and more) during sunlight hours.

Energy surpluses from those REs could produce most of the H2 required and an affordable price.

Arnold

Trying to understand the "green" steel-making angle came upon several relevant references :

"I wonder, what do they need it for? What is the application of ammonia in steel industry - what processes of making or processing steel require this much ammonia?
"Likely, for nitriding http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nitriding . Essentially, ammonia is used as nitrogen donor. Nitrogen atoms diffuse into steel, producing hardened, corrosion-resistant surface layer."
"Indeed - N2 will not nitride steel in a thermal process. NH3 breaks up much more easily, so that is used"...........

"Hydrogen is produced by dissociation of ammonia at about 982 deg C with the aid of a catalyst – which results in a mix of 75 % hydrogen and 25 % mononuclear nitrogen (N rather than N2). The mix is used as a protective atmosphere for applications during bright annealing of cold rolled coils and strips. Hydrogen is also used as a reducing agent in the manufacture of iron.

Hydrogen is mixed with inert gases to obtain a reducing atmosphere, which is required for many applications in the steel industry, such as in laboratories, heat treating steel and welding. It is often used in annealing stainless steel alloys and magnetic steel alloys.

Large quantities of hydrogen are used to purify argon that contains trace amounts of oxygen, using catalytic combination of the oxygen and hydrogen followed by removal of the resulting water."..........

"Hydrogen – used as a reducing agent replacing carbon, as the
reaction produces only water vapour. Hydrogen, either pure or as
a synthesis gas (syngas) through reforming methane or natural
gas, can be used in conventional direct-reduction reactors or
in more futuristic flash reactors. The hydrogen will need to be
produced using carbon-free energy hydro, nuclear, or renewable
for the new processes such as water electrolysis or natural gas
reforming – which require high-pressure steam or carbon-free
electricity - otherwise, it would defeat the purpose as the energy
requirement is higher than using it directly in the steelmaking
process. The energy used in a hydrogen reduction process is
significantly higher than with carbon due to its cooling effect and
may require 4-5 times the energy needed currently. This energy
also needs to be generated from carbon-free sources to avoid
shifting the emissions elsewhere.".........

So many uses.
I was thinking that for electricity or heat production on site production and storage provides a certain autonomy from the grid if reliability were a problem.
The 6MW does not make reference to electricity production - that's my error of assumption.

Arnold


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https://www.ft.com/content/f2b85c0c-ed2f-11e6-ba01-119a44939bb6

Voestalpine is looking into the possibility of replacing coking coal, which is used to reduce iron ore into molten metal, with hydrogen in the production of crude steel.

Although the company stresses that this is about two decades away, it would represent a fundamental shift in steelmaking technology with the potential to significantly reduce one of the largest sources of industrial CO2 emissions.


https://www.ft.com/content/f2b85c0c-ed2f-11e6-ba01-119a44939bb6

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