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UNSW, H2Store to develop hydrogen storage for renewables; residential and commercial P2G

Researchers at UNSW Sydney (Australia), with partner H2Store, an Australian start-up, have received a $3.5-million investment from Providence Asset Group to develop a hydrogen hydride storage system that could mean cheaper, safer storage for renewable energy for a range of applications, including residential.

Professor Kondo-Francois Aguey-Zinsou and his team at UNSW’s School of Chemical Engineering have developed a system that provides cheap storage and transportation of hydrogen which they expect will provide a new alternative for energy storage within two years.

Professor Aguey-Zinsou’s research group’s expertise is in the synthesis, characterization and application of nanosized hydride materials—i.e. materials such as magnesium hydride (MgH2) and lithium borohydride (LiBH4) capable of storing hydrogen. Their research focuses on the fundamental understanding of the behavior of hydride materials at the nanoscale (i.e. with a particle size below 10 nm).

The funding will help them deliver phase one of a four-stage project that includes the creation of prototypes of their hydrogen energy storage solution for residential and commercial use; demonstration units; and testing and optimization that will enable full commercialization of the product.

Professor Aguey-Zinsou believes that his invention would offer significant advantages over current power storage solutions for home solar systems, such as the Tesla Powerwall battery.

We will be able to take energy generated through solar panels and store it as hydrogen in a very dense form, so one major advantage of our hydrogen batteries is that they take up less space and are safer than the lithium-ion batteries used in many homes today. We can actually store about seven times more energy than the current systems.

This means that in a residential scenario, people will be able to store a lot more energy using the same footprint as Tesla batteries, to potentially power their home, charge their cars and still have excess to sell back to the grid.

—Professor Aguey-Zinsou

Professor Aguey-Zinsou is one of the co-founders of H2Store.

UNSW and H2Store expect their solution to offer other advantages over current energy storage systems, including a lifespan of about 30 years compared with less than 10 for other systems.

As the hydrogen technology develops, we will see a new cost-effective alternative to chemical batteries, remote electricity generation, household heating and increased range of hydrogen vehicles. Over the next two years we will develop a range of storage options for individuals, households and energy providers, including a solar farm ‘battery’ system to provide grid stability across Australia.

—Llewellyn Owens, H2Store CEO and Co-founder

The team hopes to have a 5 kW home storage system prototype ready by the end of 2019 and a product on the market late in 2020.

The researchers are also working on a large-scale storage system for solar and wind farms that will include the design of storage vessels suitable for hydrogen export. These vessels have potential to replace diesel in remote generation and large transport applications.

Dedicated to the “green city life” concept, the Providence Asset Group invest in and develop clean and cost-effective renewable technologies.

Comments

Davemart

So if this works OK, bang goes the quibbles about storage made on the article about solar direct to hydrogen.

HarveyD

Solar to H2 makes sense in most sunny places and will be further enhanced with near term improved lower cost solar cells. Combining home HVAC with home FCEVs would be great for near future H2 growing economy?

Engineer-Poet
bang goes the quibbles about storage made on the article about solar direct to hydrogen.

Only if that hydrogen is very, very cheap so you can withstand high losses.  FTA:

nanosized hydride materials—i.e. materials such as magnesium hydride (MgH2) and lithium borohydride (LiBH4) capable of storing hydrogen.

With all of these things there is energy required either to get the hydrogen in, or to get it out again.  I looked up MgH2 and found that the heat of formation is somewhere around 70 kJ/(mol H2), and the energy required to get hydrogen back out is more like 142 kJ/mol.  To put that into perspective, the heat of combustion of H2 is only 286 kJ/mol; it takes roughly half of your hydrogen to generate the heat to free it from magnesium hydride.  How you do this with large tanks of storage medium is problematic; heating the whole thing means high losses, while extracting and processing a stream of stuff in a much smaller heated volume means a lot of complications in handling.

Then there are resource constraints.  Using lithium anything comes into competition with lithium battery production.

Maybe there are other hydride materials that don't have such high energy requirements, but the ones I've heard of are things like lanthanum nickel.  Lanthanum is a rare earth, one of those elements that's difficult and dirty to separate from the rest of its chemical family.  To put it bluntly, the Greens have been trying to make the renewable hydrogen economy a thing for at least 4 decades, and if there were any slam dunks they probably would have been discovered years and years ago.

HarveyD

Th world has been trying to make lower cost nuclear fission reactors and effective fusion reactors for the last 60+years but their initial cost has continuously been going up and their total efficiency and have been going down instead of up.

On the other hand, REs initial cost have been going down at a quick rate and their efficiency is going up every month/year.

In the near future, 24/7 REs will compete with fossil fuel power plants and more so with nuclear power plants. The new mass produced AMBRI lower cost fixed batteries (as low as $25 kWh) and similar e-storage units will make it possible. Much improved, larger wind turbines and improved lower cost multi-layer solar panels will capture more energy (will lower speed wind and less sun) at a lower cost.

Engineer-Poet
Th world has been trying to make lower cost nuclear fission reactors ... for the last 60+year

A small part of the world has, and had major successes in cutting fossil fuel consumption and cleaning up the air (France, Sweden, Ontario).  Another substantial part has been trying to stop them.  We saw this many times, most recently in the USA when anti-nuclear actors pushed Jaczko onto the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and he almost single-handedly wrecked both the Vogtle and Summer expansions and messed up the rescue and recovery response to the Tohoku tsunami by forcing US vessels to stay far from where they were needed.

and effective fusion reactors

Nobody's ever had to TRY to get rid of fusion plants because nobody's ever been able to build a workable one.  But we HAVE had "Greens" argue for getting rid of fission reactors because "fusion is right around the corner" (which of course it never was).

Guess who's reaped the benefits from all of this?  Fossil fuel interests.

their initial cost has continuously been going up and their total efficiency and have been going down instead of up.

You're dead wrong about that.  Even existing nuclear plants keep getting better; when they are refurbished they are often given greater efficiency through newer hardware or higher thermal power.

As for cheap, NuScale has a radically new approach to safety which eliminates ALL safety-critical pumps, generators and everything in favor of passive measures.  Hardware that doesn't exist doesn't need building, testing or maintaining.  Because it needs no external power for safe shutdown, it can be started up without a grid connection and used to black-start a grid.  Wind and solar can't do that.

In the near future, 24/7 REs

Which are those, AlzHarvey?  Name them and list the potential capacity for each one.  Maybe people will ride unicorns instead of driving cars, because unicorns are cleaner.  After all, nobody has EVER seen or smelled unicorn poop.

It was over a week ago that you claimed that Nissan was working on ethanol fuel cells for e-POWER.  It was true then and it is true now that if you search either that page or Nissan's technology page for "fuel ce", "hydro", "ethan" or "alcoh" you will get NO MATCHES.  In short, you are still a worthless lying troll.  I bet you're paid to do it, too; nobody in their right mind would keep doing what you do after being proven wrong, asked to stop and finally humiliated unless they were getting a check.

HarveyD

Nissan has been working on multi-fuel FCs for many years and a first prototype vehicle is being developed (in China/Japan) for 2020.

Mass production should follow about 3 years latter.

Ethanol will be one of the usable liquid fuel.

Engineer-Poet
Nissan has been working on multi-fuel FCs for many years

Nissan TERMINATED its FC partnership with Renault, Daimler and Ford last year.  Less than a year ago Nissan went with Ceres Power, the developer of the SteelCell SOFC technology.  This is a brand-new direction for the company and not something with a fast track to production status.

a first prototype vehicle is being developed (in China/Japan) for 2020.

Not even the powerplant is production-ready, so "prototype" means "laboratory test vehicle".

Ethanol will be one of the usable liquid fuel.

SOFCs can use almost any oxygen absorber.  EtOH is one of a great many and is interchangeable with things including natural gas and (carbon-free) ammonia.  Has AlzHarveyD ever promoted an ammonia economy?  Not that I can recall.  Gee, it's almost like he is a paid shill for the natural gas interests!

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