Anglo American Platinum (Amplats), alongside Shell Technology Ventures (STV), has taken a stake in High-Yield Energy Technologies (HyET) (earlier post), a Dutch company that has developed cost-effective electrochemical hydrogen compression (EHC) technology. HyET’s technology is a reliable substitute for mechanical hydrogen compression both in existing industrial applications and in hydrogen refueling stations (HRS).
HyET’s latest compressor, the HCS-100, compresses hydrogen by forcing the gas through a platinum-based membrane to reach pressures of up to 1,000 bar (100 MPa) while ensuring its simultaneous purification. With no moving parts, the HCS-100 operates at a fraction of the cost of, and is more reliable than, current mechanical compressors.
In 2017, the HyET team reported the development of new, fully aromatic hydrocarbon membrane enabling even more efficient compression trough higher throughput and minimied parasitic losses (back diffusion), thus reducing the operation cost significantly for hydrogen compression. Besides its use in the electrochemical compressor, the newly developed membrane may also have merit in other electrochemical applications, such as electrolyzers and fuel cells, the developers noted.
Highly compressed hydrogen can store a large amount of energy, much more than conventional batteries. As a comparison: a car drives approximately 100 km on 1kg of compressed hydrogen, whilst it drives a mere 1km on the energy stored in 1kg of batteries. The ability to cost-effectively and reliably compress hydrogen will play an important part in accelerating the adoption of FCEVs and other vehicles such as fuel cell powered trucks and buses.
By accelerating the commercialization of HyET’s technology, Amplat’s investment is aimed at driving demand for platinum directly and indirectly through enabling the adoption of FCEVs, which currently require platinum-based catalysts.
We support the commercialization of new applications that use our metals, particularly those that are synergistic with our business and existing portfolio companies. This investment in HyET boosts demand for our metals while simultaneously taking advantage of the accelerating roll-out of HRS and the adoption of FCEVs. Our investment in HyET adds yet another building block to our portfolio of investments aimed at increasing demand for PGMs.—Andrew Hinkly, CEO of Anglo American Platinum’s PGM Investment Program
Peter Jaime Bouwman (2016) “Advances in Electrochemical Hydrogen Compression and Purification” ECS Trans. volume 75, issue 14, 503-510 doi: 10.1149/07514.0503ecst
Menno Koeman, Peter Jaime Bouwman, Doetze Sikkema, Martijn J.J. Mulder, Leonard F.J.M. Raymakers, Wouter Dalhuijsen, Daniel Semerel, Jonne Konink, Melissa Bosch, and Joris J. M. Bleekman (2017) “New High Potential Membrane Material (For Electrochemical Hydrogen Compression)”