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Air Liquide selects Hydrogenics for 20MW electrolyzer for hydrogen production; largest PEM electrolyzer in world

Air Liquide will build in Canada the largest PEM (Proton-Exchange Membrane) electrolyzer in the world with a 20 megawatts (MW) capacity for the production of low-carbon hydrogen (the facility will use hydropower).

Air Liquide will install a 20 MW electrolyzer that increases by 50% the current capacity of its hydrogen facility located in Bécancour, Québec. The facility is expected to be in commercial operation by the end of 2020, with an output of just under 3,000 tons of hydrogen annually.

The 20MW plant will use Hydrogenics’ advanced large-scale PEM electrolysis technology, offering the smallest footprint and highest power density in the industry.

This new production unit will significantly reduce carbon intensity compared to the traditional hydrogen production process. Emissions of nearly 27,000 tonnes of CO2 per year, equivalent to those of about 10,000 sedan cars per year, will then be prevented.

Bécancour’s proximity to major industrial markets in Canada and the United States will help ensure North America’s supply of low-carbon hydrogen for both industry and mobility usage.

This investment allows the Group to reaffirm its long-term commitment to the hydrogen energy markets and its ambition to be a major player in the supply of carbon-free hydrogen.



Let's see, assuming those numbers are just for the 20 MW expansion...

3,000,000 kg/yr @ 43 kWh/kg = 129,000,000 kWH

/ 8766 hr/yr = 14,715 kW.

Looks like they intend to run this thing at pretty high capacity factor most of the year, not just during the spring melt.  But is the capacity factor of the hydro  that high?


Given that Hydro-Quebec's generating facilities are virtually all hydro and much of the winter heating in Quebec is electric (somewhat guessing but Harvey will undoubtedly weigh in), it appears that the reservoir capacities within their network are adequate to store runoff for pretty long periods. I don't really know the hydrology of this region but it may also be that lakes in the drainage basin extend the runoff period. The reservoirs must also have adequate capacity to accommodate the variability in annual runoff which could easily be 20%.

It looks to me that the HQ system could be used as a backup to fairly large amounts of unreliable electricity (wind and solar). Allowing solar and wind into the grid when available while throttling the hydro. And meeting demand with hydro when unreliables are unavailable. One would really need to study the hydrology and demand to see how feasible this might be. The upside would be it would expand the amount of carbon- free electricity HQ can deliver without needing to add costly storage. One possible expense could be the need to install extra generating capacity to meet demands when solar and wind are unavailable.

Maybe one option for the extra renewable electricity would be to generate hydrogen?


Hypedrogen IS the costly storage.  That's why nobody is actually trying to store it; it gets fed into ammonia synthesis, the natural gas pipeline system, or some other consumptive use within days.


While H2 is not easy and cannot be described as cheap or energy efficient, there is a defined preexisting demand with known increases 'shovel ready' for bio fuels, metallurgy, fertilisers and very many others already requiring H2.
If the product is not optional then the question becomes one of low carbon, least cost, highest priority use and then lower value uses for higher outputs or surpluses.
While it is important to understand the real challenges and difficulties for H2, it is important to remember the current practice of shipping esp fossil (or carbon rich) fuels to countries which have constrained energy options currently is known to be unsustainable and fast approaching a from situation critical.
To take H2 beyond the grand plan one can expect 'to scale' demonstration plants will need to be developed. The example from GCC below of Korea's 80,000 cars is IMO a sensible approach.

"Korea is planning a road map to build a so-called hydrogen economy as part of a broader plan to increase the number of hydrogen-powered vehicles on its roads, the government said on Feb. 26.

The Ministry of Science and ICT said a combined 100 officials from six ministries and other experts from the private sector will participate in the process of setting up a road map by the third quarter.

In January, the government announced its ambitious plan to increase the number of hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles in the country to 80,000 in less than four years."


Unfortunatly we cannot run our cars with these very costly technologies. I posted on YouTube yesterday a video call 4 ways to stop climate change by abr. I explain a little bit how my c.c.p engine works and also how the extrifuge generator works. The quality of my camera is awful bad and we can't see what i written on my papers but you can listen to my voice and i will show my diagrams on a better surface later on.
Ir is time to stop buying gasoline.

Daniel Williams

There have been a few articles published in the last few days regarding the cost of hydrogen produced from renewable energy.

carbonbrief .org/renewable-hydrogen-already-cost-competative-say-researchers

The report argues that the cost of hydrogen is already competitive with hydrogen from fossil gas via SMR (reformed methane) in Germany and Texas, where the cost of delivery of SMR-hydrogen allows on-site production to be competitive. By 2030, hydrogen via electrolysis is very likely to be cheaper than natural gas in many markets globally.

In fact, hydrogen is cheaper than natural gas in Australia as well, and all gas turbines in Europe are being refitted to accept hydrogen by 2030.

There are a few plans for 100MW PtG facilities in the Netherlands and Germany; with one project planning 900MW between 2026-2030.

However, despite the low cost of hydrogen from renewables, there will still be a large gap between how many turbines and solar panels can realistically be built before 2050, and how much hydrogen is required to replace gas. For this reason, hydrogen via SMR will also have to be used, and the resultant CO2 piped back underground.


Good news for clean H2 mass production.

New more efficient FC electrolysers can produce clean H2 at an average of about 33 kWh/Kg. Future electrolysers will do it at under 30 kWh/Kg or with less than $1 of clean electricity..

H-Q currently has a huge surplus of clean low cost Hydro/Wind energy till 2027/2030+. To supply an extra 14,175 KW is rather insignifiant? If required, another Wind Farm or two could be installed. Currently, (28) H-Q Hydro plants have very large water reservoirs that can be used to store many TWH of energy for winter months.

A new energy saving programme, (the installation of 2,000,000+ residential) high efficiency heat pumps, could save enough clean e-energy for 1000+ similar H2 commercial electrolysers. New cold weather heat pumps are effective to -30C and can reduce energy used for heating by about 30%.

There have been a few articles published in the last few days regarding the cost of hydrogen produced from renewable energy.

The paper supposedly proving that is behind a paywall.  The abstract addresses both steam-methane reforming with CCS and "renewable" hydrogen, with the opinion about the latter obviously more pessimistic than the fossil-based fuel.

Given that the numbers from other efforts (like Audi "e-gas", synthetic methane from electrolytic H2) pencil out at multiples of the cost of (heavily taxed) European gasoline, this single outlier is all but certainly based on erroneous assumptions which would be disastrous if put into practice.


The Heat Pump installation programme has started with a small $500 subsidy from H-Q. This programme could be accelerated with a much higher subsidy (lets say $2000 to $4000 or $1000/Ton) to reduce winter time peak demand and liberate enough clean energy for 1000+ clean H2 production stations and 10,000+ quick charge stations for BEVs?

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