Air Products has signed a co-operation agreement with HyGear B.V., a hydrogen generation products company based in Arnhem, Netherlands. The agreement includes the sales and marketing of HyGear’s mini-steam methane reforming technology (5-10 Nm3/h) into various application areas including hydrogen fueling stations.
HyGear’s (formerly Hexion) hydrogen generators produce hydrogen from a natural gas stream using a proprietary reforming reactor technology optimized for smaller-scale applications. The first application of the hydrogen generation system under the agreement between Air Products and HyGear will be at a fueling station in Toulouse, France by the end of 2007.
This station is to be built as part of the AltHyTude Project, led by Gaz de France, as announced last year at the World Hydrogen Economy Congress in Lyon (France). AltHyTude aims to test the operation of buses fuelled with a blend of natural gas and hydrogen in the cities of Dunkirk and Toulouse.
HyGear combines its Highly Integrated Steam Reforming (HISR) technology with PSA (Pressure Swing Adsorption) technology in its Hydrogen Generation Systems. HyGear’s Hydrogen Generation Systems typically consist of a fuel preparation module; fuel processing reactor or steam reformer; a pressure swing adsorption module; and a control box.
Earlier this year, HyGear finalized the initial field test of its HGS-V product, a 5 Nm3/hr on-site Hydrogen Generation System. The field test consisted of more then 10,000 hours of testing under customer defined conditions. In February 2007, HyGear realized a MTBF of more than 3,000 hours for the unit. Over the last several months of testing, availability was 100%, up from 90% in 2006.
HyGear is also a partner in the EU’s SOLREF Solar Steam Reforming Project. The main purpose of SOLREF is to develop a 400 kWth solar reformer for several applications such as Hydrogen production or electricity generation.
Because the needed process heat for the highly endothermic reforming reaction is provided by concentrated solar energy, process CO2 emissions can be reduced significantly depending upon the feedstock (up to 40% when using natural gas).
The project is also tasked with the pre-design of a 1 MWth prototype plant in Southern Italy and the conceptual layout of a commercial 50 MWth reforming plant.
HyGear also participates in HY2SEPS, another EU research project the main goal of which is the development of a hybrid membrane / Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) H2/CO2 separation process, which will be part of a fossil fuel decarbonization process used for pre-combustion CO2 capture.