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COmbined hybrid Solution of Metal HYdride and mechanical Compressors for eXtra Large scale hydrogen refuelling stations

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - COSMHYC XL (COmbined hybrid Solution of Metal HYdride and mechanical Compressors for eXtra Large scale hydrogen refuelling stations)

Reporting period: 2020-07-01 to 2021-12-31

Hydrogen mobility is one of the most promising solutions for a sustainable energy transition in large-scale transport modes, including trucks, busses, trains and professional vehicle fleets. For these applications, a dedicated hydrogen refuelling infrastructure is necessary, including hydrogen compressors able to meet challenging constraints in terms of flow rate and availability. The COSMHYC XL project aims at developing an innovative compression solution for extra large hydrogen refuelling stations, based on the combination of a metal hydride compressor and a diaphragm compressor. The solution will be scalable and modular and will therefore be adapted to the diversity of large-scale mobility applications. The combination of both technologies will provide a cost efficient solution, by reducing both the investment and the maintenance costs. Thanks to significant research and innovation activities, from core materials and components to system integration, the new compression solution will contain no critical raw materials. The hydrogen flow rates will be drastically increased, as well as the overall compression ratio. In addition, the reliability and availability of hydrogen refuelling stations will be significantly improved. An innovative system integration concept will enable to optimise the thermal synergies between both compressors and lead to an improved electrical efficiency by more than 30%, thereby contributing to reduce the production costs of hydrogen and making it a competitive fuel for large-scale mobility. COSMHYC XL will include the development of a 1/10 scale prototype, and a long-term test phase of 6 months under real conditions. Techno-economic analysis will be performed and an advisory committee will support the partners to better understand the needs of the market. Extensive communication, dissemination and exploitation activities will take place and maximise the economic, environmental and societal impacts of the project.
COSMHYC XL started in 2019 with a comprehensive analysis of envisaged different large-scale FC transport applications (e.g. rigid trucks, semi-trailer tractors, city bus, regional trains) and with an economic analysis confirming that the envisaged hybrid compression system, allowing for a whole range of configurations, is well adapted for those large applications. Technical and economic requirement for the compression solution were then set and modelling and draft designs were performed for the different component of the system as well as for the large-scale oriented system integration.
In parallel to this work, the consortium completed the former COSMHYC project by conducting long term testing of a prototype of lower capacity (100 kg/day) based on the same hydride principle. During the second period of the COSMHYC XL project, the results and technical know-how generated within the COSMHYC tests, were used to review and improve the conception and design of the new prototype which is conceived to demonstrate a baseload capacity of 200 kg/day, allowing to reach 950 bar for refueling hydrogen at 700 bar.
During the second period of the project, the consortium focused on following aspects:
- The impacts of 5 possible pollutants (N2, CO, CO2, O2 and H20) on the metal hydrides were studied in a comprehensive way. The results allow to better master the manufacturing process of hydrides and to ensure reliable performances operation of the compressive reactors. Based on these results, the composition of the hydrides was revised.
- The selection of rare earth free metal hydrides is under review to allow performant compression from ˜1 to 500 bar in 3 compression stage. Also the designs of the reactors were reviewed for optimization. Partner MAHYTEC well advanced the production of the metal hydrides and the manufacturing of the reactors. Each manufactured reactor undergoes individual certification.
- The metal hydrides reactors will be integrated in the innovative compressor to be commissioned during period 3 on a test site prepared by partner EIFER. All necessary safety studies and pre-certification were completed to be able to conduct long term tests in 2022.
- During period 2, EIFER also finalised the design of the innovative hydride compressor, completing the large-scale oriented system integration system, incl. control, monitoring and thermal systems.
- Development also happened fast on the mechanical compressor of partner NEL. The new mechanical compressor design benefits from the learnings gained within the COSMHYC project. It was built and submitted to comprehensive iterative testing and development phases during the second period of the project. The expected performances could be demonstrated. More over the concept designs for dual-crank compressor(s) were developed to reach 120kg/h (2-stage) and 240kg/h in duplex configuration.
The consortium partners will now commission the new metal hydride compressor and conduct long term test following a test protocol conceive for simulating its operation in combination with the mechanical compressor.
During the second period of COSMHYC XL, knowledge generated within the sister project COSMHYC were used to develop further the hybrid compression concept for heavy-duty vehicle applications. For the innovative metal hydride technology, the consortium develops metal hydrides with appropriate characteristics and free from critical raw materials and designs optimised thermal and mechanical concepts. When combined, those developments will allow unprecedented performances in terms of heat transfer capacity, flow rate and energy consumption. Already the COSMHYC prototype goes well beyond other existing metal hydride compressor prototypes, enabling a change of scale by a factor 10. The COSMHYC XL metal hydride compressor will be a further significant step beyond state-of the art allowing for a capacity of 80 kg/h H2 in future. Through design integration, the partners intent to double the flow rate, while ensuring the footprint of the compressor will not change.
Also the performances and flow rates of the mechanical compressor is significantly improved. COSMHYC has already enabled significant improvements of life-time, efficiency and flow rate, aiming at capacities of 120kg/h thanks to innovative system integration concepts. The ambition to scale up-capacity while maintaining the same time the lifetime and efficiency levels in COSMHYC has been demonstrated during the second period of the project. The new prototype also operates with very low noise and the whole system remains under the 60dB.
The joint efforts on two compression technologies and on integrating them in a modular and flexible compression solution will allow flow rates will have a significant positive impact on the future costs of refuelling stations. Thanks to the hydride solution, the electricity consumption of the COSMHYC XL hybrid compressor will lower electricity consumption and to strongly reduce CAPEX: a reduction of 50% is expected compared to the current CAPEX of non-mechanical compressors.
Container for the metal hydride compressor delivered at the long term test site
Principle of the COSMHYC XL innovative hybrid compression solution
Hydrogen refuelling for trains