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Plug Power and HyGear partner to provide small-scale SMR hydrogen production technology to fuel cell system customers

Fuel cell system manufacturer Plug Power Inc. and HyGear, supplier of cost-effective industrial gases, are partnering to supply HyGear’s Hy.GEN hydrogen generation technology to Plug Power fuel cell customers globally. The first deployments are scheduled to be installed in the fourth quarter of 2016 at a new site for one of Plug Power’s existing customers.

Hy.GEN is based on small-scale steam methane reforming (SMR). The small scale on-site hydrogen generation systems range from 5 Nm3/h up to 100 Nm3/h, making them suitable for use at industrial sites and hydrogen filling stations. Hy.GEN systems allow the option to use biogas for a “green” hydrogen solution.

In the process, steam produced from waste heat is added to desulfurized methane or biogas and introduced into the reformer. The heat and catalytic properties of the reformer cause the following reaction:

CH4 + H2O ⇄ 3H2 + CO

The remaining carbon monoxide is then converted in the Water Gas Shift assembly (WGS) to produce more hydrogen:

CO + H2O → CO2 + H2

The gases then enter Pressure Swing Adsorption units (PSA) where the hydrogen is separated from other gaseous species under elevated pressure using differences in adsorption properties. The cleaned hydrogen is then stored in the buffer vessel.

HyGear uses vacuum PSA technology. This is more energy and cost efficient than traditional gas separation systems, HyGear says. The PSA consists of four parallel active vessels, enabling a continuous cleaning process.

Re-using the waste gases and waste heat of the process optimizes the energy efficiency; no external fuel gases are needed for the reform reaction and steam generation. The off-gas from the PSA is used as input for the burner that provides heat for the reforming reaction. The residual heat is used for generating steam, which is mixed with natural gas for the steam reforming process.


Inside the Hy.Gear SMR unit. Click to enlarge.

Decentralized hydrogen production offers a safer, more reliable and cost-effective alternative to conventional hydrogen supply by tube trailers or electrolyzers and lowers the environmental impact, the partners suggested.

The partnership with HyGear is part of Plug Power’s long-term goal of making hydrogen a cost-effective and ubiquitous fuel. HyGear’s reformer solution allows Plug Power to address a more diverse set of customers including small material handling fleets and a broader base of tethered fleet vehicles.

Plug Power will offer HyGear’s Hy.GEN reformer technology as an option under its GenFuel platform to material handling and stationary power customers worldwide.


Michael B.

Pig, meet lipstick?


All processes used to reform hydrogen gas are inefficient, way too inefficient, especially if you use fossil fuels as a feedstock and include the costs and energy used to mine/refine and transport/store the feedstock and the final product.

On the other hand, Solar panels can be used to directly charge batteries...a much simpler process and an extremely less complicated and costly process.

We are misdirecting funds to build hydrogen generators. The money should go to building better batteries and closing down fossil fuel plants.


Actually that is a fallacy, its more efficient to use solar to make hydrogen then charge batteries but a better system then solar panels is already out of the lab and being tested. Ironically dirty water works better with the micro hydrogen catalyst.
Check out hypersolar. We could all have these built these solar cells mounted into the roofs our cars. The restroom stop would refuel the car. Hydrogen highway would have new meaning. Low pressure metal halide storage tanks would be capable of being recharged along the sunny drive or parked at work.


If I was in any doubt that delusional Greens were still a force to be reckoned with, I am no longer.


With half a dozen EU car manufacturers joining FCEVs from Japan and So-Korea, the critical mass may be around by 2020 or so.

If so, many more H2 stations will be required?

This and many more efficient ways to separate H2 from gases and water will be used in the post-2020 era?


H2 local delivery trucks may soon be available to refill your FCEVs in less than 4 minutes.

A UBER like application will guide the H2 truck to the right place at the right time and charge your credit card for the H2 volume transferred.


So hydrogen is going to be so labor-intensive, it won't just require service by attendants instead of self-serve, it requires a truck that delivers direct to you and all the overhead of drivers, etc.

The cost of this is going to be out of sight.


Cost is all relative?

Not so long ago, we had heating oil (automatically) delivered at the house for CAN $0.09/Imperial Gallon or about USD $0.066/US gallon and many users complained against high price for it.

The same drivers + suitable H2 trucks could deliver H2 at a competitive price for FCEV users too busy to use the public H2 stations? Drug stores, pizza resto, food stores etc to it for free every day.


$0.066 per US gallon is about $2.80 per barrel, refined and delivered.  That had to be pre-1973, and the oil a high-sulfur fraction not suitable for gasoline or petrochemicals.

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