ITM Power will showcase a series of large scale electrolyzer configurations up to 100MW in size at Hannover Messe 2017 (24 - 28 April). This is in response to utility and oil and gas industry demand for larger scale industrial installations.
ITM Power has sold a number of MW-scale plants over the last year and is now responding to enquires for much larger plant for bus and heavy goods vehicle refueling stations in the to 10MW range and, increasingly, industrial applications ranging from power-to-gas, refineries and steel-making in the 10MW to 100MW range.
The modular design of ITM Power’s electrolyzer systems enables scale-up. The use of integrated modules enables a wide customer offering based on the company’s existing core PEM stack technology. This approach maintains standardization for manufacture while minimizing development and design time when scaling up, the company said. The advantages of compact size, fast response time, high operating efficiency and high pressure are maintained. This approach serves the requirements of the current electrolyzer market, while providing a route to access growing markets in the multi-MW scale.
The designs to be showcased include the new 2.2MW unit which is at the heart of the 10, 30, 60 and 100MW designs created for this new market demand.
Refinery hydrogen. Refineries currently use hydrogen to improve the quality of fractional distillation products and most of this hydrogen is produced from steam-reforming. About 17% of the total CO2 emissions from the European refinery sector can be attributed to hydrogen production. Emissions from steam reforming natural gas are about 10 tonnes of CO2 per tonne of hydrogen produced, nearly 50% of direct refinery CO2 emissions.
The EU Fuel Quality Directive states that fuels in Europe must reduce their carbon emissions by 6% by 2020. Furthermore, The EU Emissions Trading System threshold, will be reduced by 1.74% (based on the 2010 cap) annually. UKPIA has calculated that the total additional costs for UK refineries are up to £75 million/year (US$95 million/year) using an allowance cost of £10.50/t CO2 (US$13.27/t CO2).
If using green hydrogen can cut 50% of direct CO2 emissions, this represents a saving of £37 million/year (US$46.8 million/year) for UK refineries and small emitters (<25 ktCO2e a year) could be allowed to opt out entirely. Refineries need a cost-effective solution that reduces carbon emissions, allowing them to comply with stringent legislation and avoid fines, while maintaining output.
Chemical Industry. The chemical industry has traditionally used the reformation of natural gas as a source of hydrogen. However, reformers have start-up times in excess of three hours, leading to unwanted periods of downtime for planned and unplanned maintenance. With their rapid start up times, PEM electrolyzers are able to provide an immediate backup solution to prevent production downtime and security of hydrogen supply.
Power-to-gas energy storage. The recent Winter Package of Directive proposals from the EC includes energy storage involving the conversion of electricity to another energy carrier, such as hydrogen. Ongoing work by CEN/CENELEC is investigating hydrogen/methane blends and establishing admissible concentration levels for hydrogen in natural gas grids across Europe. These developments will enable Europe-wide deployment of power-to-gas plant for injecting hydrogen into the gas grid while offering balancing services to the electricity grid.
Steel making. Iron ore requires chemical reduction before being used to produce steel; this is currently achieved through the use of carbon, in the form of coal or coke. When oxidized, this leads to emissions of about 2.2 tonnes of CO2 for each tonne of liquid steel produced, equivalent to 5% of the world’s anthropogenic CO2 emissions.
The substitution of hydrogen for carbon has the potential to significantly reduce CO2 emissions, because hydrogen is an excellent reducing agent and produces only water as a by-product. Furthermore, electrolytic oxygen may be injected into furnaces, including electric arc furnaces, to remove impurities, reduce NOx emissions, reduce fuel consumption, and improve flame stability and rates of heat transfer.