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Archive for the category “hydrogen”

The Netherlands is Placing its Bets on the Hydrogen Economy

Natural gas power plant Eemshaven. One of the blocks is retrofitted for hydrogen.

The Netherlands are “plat als een dubbeltje” (flat as a dime) and as such pumped hydro storage solutions are virtually impossible. The people behind the recent Climate Accord, that is from the industry to environmentalist groups, see hydrogen as the key of the energy transition. Current annual hydrogen production (from natural gas) is 800,000 ton, mostly for agriculture and refineries. The goal is “green hydrogen”, produced from solar and wind, without CO2 as a byproduct. Hydrogen is needed for several purposes: as storage and for certain aspects of industrial society that can’t be covered with electricity alone. Batteries alone are no solution. For the storage of 2000 kWh you would need 3 sea containers per household at the cost of 40,000 euro/year. You can store the same 2000 kWh worth of energy in a hydrogen container of merely 1 m3. And yes, there are considerable conversion losses from electricity –> H2 –> electricity, but hydrogen can be exported via existing but retrofitted natural gas networks, where building new cables would be 100-200 times more expensive.

Dutch industry is already busy with laying the foundations of a hydrogen economy. In the northern Groningen province, GasUnie is developing a small factory where solar electricity is converted in hydrogen (“power-to-gas”). The best location for large scale hydrogen factories is probably at sea, near the wind parks. Fortunately there is an enormous pipeline infrastructure in the North Sea, a left over of the gas and oil age, that can be reused for hydrogen. Large scale hydrogen production won’t happen before 2030, simply because there is yet not enough wind power generated that can’t be used immediately. 3,000 turbines are seen as a critical number from where storage would become necessary.

Currently Holland is competing with post-Fukushima Japan to be the owner of the first hydrogen economy.

[] – Ineens lijkt waterstof het antwoord op alle energieproblemen

[deepresource] – Nederlandse Regering Presenteert Klimaatakkoord
[deepresource] – First Climate Neutral Power Station in The Netherlands
[deepresource] – Prof. Ad van Wijk (#1 Dutch hydrogen guru)
[] – The Green Hydrogen Economy in the Northern Netherlands (English pdf, 51p)
[] – A Roadmap for The Green Hydrogen Economy in the Northern Netherlands

The report contains significant financial analysis on how green hydrogen can be produced at industrial scale, either from biomass gasification or water electrolysis, at a cost of EUR 2.20 to 2.30 per kg.


Nederland Waterstofland

Retrospect conference organized by Dutch employers’ organizations VNO-NCW and MKB on the topic of “The Netherlands Hydrogen Country”.

[] – Terugblik conferentie Nederland Waterstofland

National hydrogen guru prof. Ad van Wijk is baking an egg on hydrogen.

Groningen Wants to Become the Dutch Hydrogen Province

Why Groningen? Prof. van Wijk and premier hydrogen evangelist in the Netherlands sums it up:

1. Paris Accords. Not specific for Groningen, but important stimulus.
2. Groningen produced natural gas for decades. The expertise and infrastructure for a replacement is there.
3. There is a lot of renewable electricity on offer from Norway and from Danish, German and Dutch offshore wind parks.
4. There is a lot of chemical industry already present that could work with hydrogen.

The goal is to produce 270,000 tons of hydrogen annually, in order to bring down per kilo hydrogen prices to 2-3 euro.

[] – Groningen to Test Netherlands’ First Hydrogen Train
[] – The Green Hydrogen Economy in the Northern Netherlands
[] – Groningen Seaports investing in green hydrogen
[deepresource] – Prof. Ad van Wijk
[deepresource] – Price of Hydrogen Production via Electrolysis
[deepresource] – Cost Hydrogen From Renewable Energy

Price of Hydrogen Production via Electrolysis


It was the old idea of the hydrogen economy (first use term: 1970): intermittent renewable electricity in –> hydrogen out. Storage problem solved. The idea got discredited for cost reasons. These reasons are no longer valid and hydrogen is making a come-back.

Basic fact: It takes about 50 kWh of electrical energy to electrolyze 9 liters of water to obtain 1 kg of Hydrogen.

Price hydrogen from electrolysis: 2-3 euro/kg

Energy density (MJ/kg):
Hydrogen: 143
LNG: 56
Diesel: 48
Gasoline: 46

[] – Hydrogen made by the electrolysis of water is now cost-competitive
[] – Hydrogen Economy
[] – Veel wegen leiden naar waterstofeconomie

Photocatalytic Water Splitting

New TiO2 photocatalyst for water splitting. H2 bubbles are generated from the catalyst surface only by sunlight irradiation. Chemistry department of NUS.

[] – Photocatalytic water splitting

Solar driven water splitting for large-scale hydrogen fuel production from semiconductor photo-electrodes has the potential to provide energy on large scale from renewable, sustainable sources. Our research focuses on the kinetically more demanding oxygen-evolution reaction, and we prepare thin film metal oxide photoanodes by low-temperature, solution-based processes. One promising light absorber is TiO2:(Nb,N) where Nb and N substitute for Ti and O on their respective lattice sites in anatase. These materials are prepared by sol-gel processing followed by annealing in flowing ammonia. We observe a band-gap energy as low as 2.0 eV at 25% Nb and 2% N. In conjunction with a RuO2 catalyst, powdered TiO2:(Nb,N) evolves O2. A second class of materials we study is the transition-metal tungstates, and we have prepared our most promising candidate, CuWO4, by several routes: electrochemical deposition, sol-gel processing, and spray pyrolysis. These methods afford highly reproducible and robust CuWO4 thin-film electrodes on transparent conducting substrates. CuWO4 is an n–type semiconductor with a band-gap energy of ~2.4 eV. CuWO4 thin films photooxidize water with simulated solar radiation with a nearly quantitative Faradaic efficiency for O2 evolution at no applied bias in the presence of the sacrificial electron acceptor, [Fe(CN)6]3–. Most important, these thin-film electrodes are stable against photocorrosion when illuminated with visible light at neutral pH, a significant improvement to the more commonly studied photoanode, WO3. Current efforts are aimed at preparing complex tungstates that absorb lower energy light to improve the quantum yield. This talk was presented on May 14, 2013 as part of the IHS Markit Seminar Series.
Bart Bartlett, Department of Chemistry, University of Michigan

The Hydrogen Electrolyser

700 MW Renewable Hydrogen Plant to be Built in France

[source] Origin Norsk Hydro 1927.

Nel Hydrogen from Norway, with more than 80 years of experience in producing hydrogen, will build an initial 100 MW power-to-gas plant in Normandy, France between 2018-2020. Investment volume: 45 million euro. The intention is to expand to 700 MW by 2025. The resulting hydrogen will be mixed with natural gas in order to make the fuel “greener” by significantly reducing CO2 emissions.

[] – Nel ASA: Enters into exclusive NOK 450 million industrial-scale power-to-gas framework agreement with H2V PRODUCT
[] – Company site
[] – Nel ASA erhält Auftrag für weltweit größte Wasserstoff-Elektrolyseur-Tankstation

Read more…

Building a Hydrogen Refueling Station in 48 Hours (Time-lapse)

Fill the tank of your fuel cell powered car within 3 minutes with hydrogen and drive another 500 km.

The West is betting on batteries.
The Japanese are betting on fuel cells and hydrogen.

We bet on the Japanese and the hydrogen solution as displayed in the video.

Groene Waterstofeconomie in Noord-Nederland

The northern provinces of the Netherlands are actively promoting the hydrogen economy, where cheap offshore electricity will be used for the production of hydrogen.

[] – The Green Hydrogen Economy in the Northern Netherlands
[] – The Green Hydrogen Economy in the Northern Netherlands
(31p pdf about how to set up a hydrogen economy)

High Temperature Electrolysis

Sunfire’s field of operation

Dr. Oliver Born: this presentation is mainly about using waste heat steam for hydrogen production. With steam you can typically achieve 20% higher efficiency with steam than with low temperature water.

[] – High-temperature electrolysis

During electrolysis, the amount of electrical energy that must be added equals the change in Gibbs free energy of the reaction plus the losses in the system. The losses can (theoretically) be arbitrarily close to zero, so the maximum thermodynamic efficiency of any electrochemical process equals 100%. In practice, the efficiency is given by electrical work achieved divided by the Gibbs free energy change of the reaction.

In most cases, such as room temperature water electrolysis, the electric input is larger than the enthalpy change of the reaction, so some energy is released as waste heat. In the case of electrolysis of steam into hydrogen and oxygen at high temperature, the opposite is true. Heat is absorbed from the surroundings, and the heating value of the produced hydrogen is higher than the electric input. In this case the efficiency relative to electric energy input can be said to be greater than 100%.

[] – Sunfire company site

[] – Low cost hydrogen production
Sunfire achieves 82% electrolysis efficiency in their hydrogen generator modules.
Input: saturated steam 40 kg/h @ 150°C and pressure: 3 bar(g)

British contribution: scaling up electrolysis to 100 MW

Power to Gas: That’s how Wind Power is Stored

Technology has matured enough to produce effective wind turbines. The next technological challenge is how to store intermittent electricity generated by these wind turbines. The most promising technology is power-to-gas: use electricity from wind to split water in H2 and O2 molecules and burn (reunited) them at a later point in time.

This project produces 163 bar hydrogen, without the need of an external compressor. The resulting hydrogen can be directly fed into the existing natural gas network.

[] – Hydrogen technology
[] – Renewable energy? Let’s store it!

Water Splitting Catalyst Breakthrough?

Molecular models representing a 2D heterostructure made of graphene (gray background hexagonal lattice), and islands on top of hexagonal WS2 and MoS, as well as an alloy of the two. Water (H2O) molecules in red (oxygen) and gray (hydrogen) come from the bottom left hand side and get transformed catalytically after interacting with the heterostructures into H2 bubbles (top right hand side). Credit: Penn State Materials Research Institute.

Platinum is a near perfect catalyst for splitting water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen. The only drawback is that it is very expensive. Researchers from Houston, Penn State and Florida State University claim to have found a cheaper replacement: Molybdenum disulfide (MoS2). A Swiss team already proposed this solution in 2011.

No efficiency numbers are given.

The Wiley link from 2016 mentions 12.4%

[] – Low cost, scalable water splitting fuels the future hydrogen economy
[] – Researchers report new, more efficient catalyst for water splitting
[] – Amorphous MoS2 films as catalysts for electrochem. H2 prod. in H2O
[] – Amorphous Molybdenum Sulfides as Hydrogen Evolution Catalysts
[] – MoS2 as a co-catalyst for photocatalytic hydrogen production from water
[] – Molybdenum disulfide
[] – Gibbs free energy

Water Electrolysis in Mainz

The German city of Mainz is situated in the Bundesland (province) Rhineland-Palatinate, which has the ambition of eliminating fossil fuel from electricity production completely by 2030. For that purpose a storage solution for regenerative energy needs to be found. Mainz has built a facility based on electrolysis of water, producing hydrogen and oxygen. Their Siemens Silyzer 200 PEM electrolysis system operates with a conversion efficiency of 65-70%.

Siemens Silyzer 200 PEM electrolysis system

[] – Energiepark Mainz, official site
[] – Energy Park Mainz A Project for the Industry
[] – Mainz claim to have the world’s largest green hydrogen plant
[] – SILYZER 200 (PEM electrolysis system)
[] – Electrolyzer Manufacturers Stake Their Claims

Read more…

Future of E-Vehicles: Battery or Fuel Cell?

The world’s elites seem to agree that e-vehicles are the future. The remaining question is: what will power them? Batteries or fuel cells. Or put differently: will hydrogen be included in the energy conversion scheme? Trillions of euros/dollars are at stake here.

The video claims that batteries have won. It is however possible to find support for either point of view, see links below.

Comment: our tentative conclusion would be that fuel cells will win because of the storage aspect of hydrogen. After all, the renewable generated electricity will need to be stored somewhere anyway. Why not in hydrogen that can be directly used in cars?

[] – Fuel Cell and Battery Electric Vehicles Compared
[] – Why the Automotive Future Will Be Dominated by Fuel Cells
[] – Majority of automotive execs still believe battery-powered cars will fail and fuel cells are the future
[] – Why hydrogen fuel cell cars are not competitive — from a hydrogen fuel cell expert

Read more…

Fuel Cells in Shipping

German language video

Global shipping is a major polluter. Efforts are underway to eliminate the use of oil fuel. A replacement candidate is hydrogen-based fuel cells. Hydrogen produced with renewable electricity is converted into electricity, that drives and elektro-motor and propeller.

[] – e4ships – fuel cells in marine applications
[] – Brennstoffzelle und Schiffe: Sauber auf See

HY4 – World’s First Fuel Cell Hydrogen Plane

On September 29, 2016, the first plane with a fuel cell propulsion took off from Stuttgart airport in Germany.

Empty mass: 630 kg (battery 130 kg, fuel cell 100 kg)
Max. total weight: 1500 kg
Max. speed: 200 kmh
Cruise speed: 145 kmh
Range: 750-1500 km (depending on battery)
Capacity: 4 passengers

[] – HY4
[] – Official site
[] – Das Brennstoffzellenflugzeug wird viersitzig

[] – Hydrogen-powered aircraft

Read more…

Hydrogen Europe

From the official site:

Hydrogen Europe (formerly known as NEW-IG) is the leading European industry association representing over 100 companies and national associations in the fuel cells and hydrogen sector.

Following the renewal of the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking under Horizon 2020 (budget 1.3 billion EUR), the association decided to step up its ambition in advocacy towards EU policy-makers beyond this partnership and thereby transform Hydrogen Europe into a full-fledged European industry body with full external reach.

In so achieving, Hydrogen Europe is building a second pillar within the association comprising European National and Regional fuel cell and hydrogen associations. The underlining objective is to bring together fuel cell and hydrogen industry and national/regional associations in order to streamline and enhance advocacy efforts and ultimately strengthen the European fuel cell and hydrogen sector as a whole.

[] – Official site
[] – Jorgo Chatzimarkakis

Interreg – North Sea Region – HyTrEc2

HyTrEc 2

The key aim of HyTrEc 2 is to create conditions so that a Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles market can develop, and promote the NSR as a Centre for Excellence for fuel cells and range extenders. The project will reduce the cost of hydrogen vehicles and reduce CO2 emissions by:

  • Improving the operational efficiency of a wide range of vehicles such as vans, large trucks and refuse collection vehicles.
  • Improving the supply chain and training so that the NSR becomes a Centre of Excellence for hydrogen transport and a competitive environment is formed
  • Developing innovative methods for the production, storage and distribution of green hydrogen.
  • Ensuring that the NSR is the dominant region in the EU in terms of hydrogen transport. The project will complement national


  • European Institute for Innovation Technology e.V.
  • Aberdeen city council
  • Centre of Excellence for Low Carbon and Fuel Technologies
  • Hogskolen i Narvik
  • SP Sveriges Tekniska Forskningsinstitut
  • Provincie Drenthe
  • Gemeente Groningen
  • Aberdeenshire Council

[] – HyTrEc2, green transport and mobility
[] – HYTREC 2

Read more…

Hyundai FE Fuel Cell Concept

Geneva car show presentation of the 2018 Hyundai fuel cell SUV. Range 800 km (500 km probably more realistic). Efficiency fourth generation fuel cell 60%, 9% better than the previous generation. Worldwide distribution as of 2018. 120 kW electromotor. Low temperature starting problems should have been solved.

[] – Dit is Hyundai’s next-gen waterstof-SUV, met 800 km bereik

Van Hool Hydrogen Buses

[] – Hybrid fuel cell bus
[] – Van Hool

Read more…

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