Hydrogenious Technologies partners with United Hydrogen Group (UHG) to bring novel LOHC H2 storage system to US market
One of Anglo American Platinum’s investments, Hydrogenious Technologies, a German hydrogen storage startup, has launched its first commercial hydrogen storage and logistics system using its innovative Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carrier (LOHC) technology.
Hydrogenious Technologies is a spin-off from the University of Erlangen- Nuremberg (Germany), which also holds a stake in the company, and the Bavarian Hydrogen Center. Instead of storing hydrogen either under high pressure of up to 700 bar or in liquid form at –253 °C, Hydrogenious’ technology catalytically binds and releases the hydrogen molecules to liquid organic hydrogen carriers (LOHCs). (Earlier post.)
Liquid organic hydrogen carriers (LOHCs) are an interesting option for the storage of hydrogen. The concept of LOHC is based on the reversible hydrogenation of an unsaturated, usually aromatic, compound. This reaction forms a saturated compound, which is the hydrogen-rich form of the carrier. In a dehydrogenation reaction, the hydrogenated (i.e., hydrogen rich) form releases the hydrogen for further utilization. The hydrogen uptake in the hydrogenation reaction requires elevated pressures of about 30 to 50 bar. The dehydrogenation on the other hand can be operated at ambient pressure but necessitates high temperatures of up to 300 °C. However, during storage time, ambient conditions can be applied to the carrier, without any negative influence on storage density or losses during storage time. This is one of the most important advantages compared to most other hydrogen storage technologies.—Müller et al.
Hydrogenation of the Hydrogenious LOHC, which occurs via the catalytic reaction at 50 bar pressure, is an exothermal process with 10kWhth/kg H2 usable heat @ 150 °C. The reactor design allows for a continuous hydrogenation process.
The storage medium is dibenzyltoluene—a liquid organic hydrocarbon that maintains a liquid state in a broad temperature range between -39°C to 390°C and ambient pressure. It is low flammability and non-explosive, even when loaded with hydrogen. There is no evaporation of stored hydrogen—multi-month storage is possible without any losses.
The proposed LOHC compounds have many physico-chemical similarities to diesel. Thus, LOHCs could make use of the existing energy infrastructure (e.g. tank ships, storage tanks or fueling stations) and enable a slow and step-wise replacement of the existing hydrocarbon fuels by alternative LOHC fuels.
The release of hydrogen molecules from the liquid carrier medium also occurs via catalytic reaction. This is an endothermic process with 10kWhth/kg H2 @ ~300°C.
The system features various new technologies, including a Polymer Electrolyte Membrane (PEM) electrolyzer that generates hydrogen using solar power and a Hydrogenious “StorageBOX” that uses LOHC technology to enable storage without any losses for extended periods of time.
Hydrogenious Technologies recently signed a deal with United Hydrogen Group (UHG), a hydrogen distribution company based in the United States, to supply two LOHC systems, one StorageBOX and one ReleaseBOX. The technology will increase delivery ranges and decrease the operating costs of hydrogen logistics for UHG.
Further, the agreement enables Hydrogenious Technologies to enter the US market, which represents over 50% of the global hydrogen market, and will support the rollout of hydrogen refueling infrastructure for Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs.)
Hydrogenious Technologies recently was awarded with the prestigious German Industry Innovation Award.
Hydrogenious Technologies’ manufacturing plant in Erlangen, Germany, was formally inaugurated at an event attended by key government and business officials in the country including Ilse Aigner (Bavarian State Minister of Economic Affairs and Media, Energy and Technology), Prof. Joachim Hornegger (President of FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg), Dr. Katharina Beumelburg (CEO Siemens Hydrogen Solutions) and Frank Sreball (CEO H2 Mobility).
The investment in Hydrogenious Technologies forms part of Anglo American Platinum’s commitment to support early stage technologies and innovative industrial applications that use or enable the use of platinum group metals. Anglo American Platinum invested in Hydrogenious Technologies’ first financing round in 2014.
Karsten Müller, Katharina Stark, Vladimir N. Emel’yanenko, Mikhail A. Varfolomeev, Dzmitry H. Zaitsau, Evgeni Shoifet, Christoph Schick, Sergey P. Verevkin, and Wolfgang Arlt (2015) “Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carriers: Thermophysical and Thermochemical Studies of Benzyl- and Dibenzyl-toluene Derivatives” Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research 54 (32), 7967-7976 doi: 10.1021/acs.iecr.5b01840