Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


HyGrid Report Summary

Project ID: 700355
Funded under: H2020-EU.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - HyGrid (Flexible Hybrid separation system for H2 recovery from NG Grids)

Reporting period: 2016-05-01 to 2017-10-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

HyGrid aims at developing novel hybrid system integrating three technologies for hydrogen purification integrated in a way that enhances the strengths of each of them: Membrane separation technology is employed for removing H2 from the “low H2 content” (e.g. 2-10 %) followed by electrochemical hydrogen separation (EHP) optimal for the “very low H2 content” (e.g. <2 %) and finally temperature swing adsorption (TSA) technology to purify from humidity produced in both systems upstream. The objective is to give a robust proof of concept and validation of the new technology (TRL 5) by designing, building, operating and validating a prototype system tested at industrial relevant conditions for continuous and transient loads.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

The coordination is proceeding as planned.
Face to face meeting are organized every 6 months. In between meetings, every three months a teleconference is organized as well. Exchange of info is achieved via the private website and/or via email.

The main objective of this WP was to define the industrial specifications for a novel hybrid separation technology system to recover pure hydrogen from natural gas grids and the definition of a pre-commercial scale plant.
- The natural gas infrastructure could be used to transport hydrogen from production to delivery points blended with natural gas.
- The maximum hydrogen allowed into natural gas pipelines is in the range 2 to 10 % depending on the end-users existing in the grid.

Porous supports, palladium based membranes, carbon membranes and sealing have been developed for hydrogen separation with the recovery of hydrogen from low concentration streams (2% -10%) up to 99.97%, 99.9% and 98.0% H2 purity for ISO14687 grade D, E category 3 and A respectively in the whole range of pressures of the Natural Gas Network. During the first months, different alumina porous tube geometries have been characterized at SAES and Tecnalia for their use as Pd-based membrane supports. T. A sealing method based on brazing of porous alumina and dense metallic tubes have been developed by SAES and a patent application has been filled for it.

The first task of this WP is the theoretical support for the design of the EHP. Different subjects have been investigated up to now, like application of a high temperature membrane with addition of various polymers to immobilize the acid in the membrane. Also, a theoretical optimization is done on membrane type and membrane thickness, based on actual measured data. On the other hand, a theoretical optimization of the gas flow distribution to the membrane is on progress. On this regard, parameters such as the pressure drop, hold up time of the gas and distance between gas and catalyst on the electrode are critical. In the second task, the most important part is the development and testing of the actual EHP. The main three improvements are: the larger total surface area, a new cell plate design with adapted gas distribution flow field and a new gas seal design to contain high pressure hydrogen. T

In WP5 HyGear has designed and assembled the TSA pilot plant. Sizing of the pilot plant was performed using the TSA chemical model developed in Task 8.2. Using test results of different TSA adsorbent materials obtained in a dedicated laboratory test rig (assembled and operated in Task 5.1), the model developed in Task 8.2 was validated. Currently the TSA pilot plant is placed at the test site of HyGear and will be connected to the gas and electrical infrastructure before debugging and testing in the next period.

Three tasks have been planned to be carried out: in task 6.1, a small test rig has been built at TUE to be able to test smaller version of the hybrid separation technologies. The system can reach up to 50 bar. In task 6.2, different ultra-thin ceramic supported Pd-Ag membranes and two metallic supported membranes have been tested at different temperatures and pressures with mixtures and sweep gases. The ultra-thin Pd-Ag membranes had a maximum selectivity of 580, which is relatively low compared to the target of the project. The metallic supported membranes had a higher permeability and lower selectivity due to the sealing. The support was not robust because the welding was not strong enough.
In WP7 HyGear started the discussions with partners SAES, HyET, TU/e and Nortegas regarding the integration of the membrane, TSA and EHP modules. A process flow diagram with the main streams of the HyGrid prototype was prepared after the discussions. Also, a preliminary plan for the placement of the different HyGrid modules of the prototype was prepared. Moreover, HyGear is evaluating the possibilities of feeding back the cleaned gases to a

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

Currently the value of H2 in natural gas is only the caloric value of the gas as most of natural gas is used for heating. The value for chemical use is negative as most chemical plants are not equipped for using hydrogen in natural gas. The HyGrid system will convert this low caloric value into fuel for passenger car value. This will increase the value of around €3, 50 up to €6, 00 per kg. Almost doubling the value of hydrogen in the grid. Moreover, the successful results of HyGrid will indeed make it possible to distribute hydrogen also within the natural gas grid, thus reducing the costs of transportation or on-site production of hydrogen for many applications including hydrogen refuelling stations.

The new technology has also a great environmental and societal impact. In particular, the project will reduce specific CO2 emissions as well as other pollutants like NOx and SOx. Furthermore, the HyGrid separation technology itself will lead to: more efficient use of raw material resources and minimization of by-products formation (less wastes) due to the high selectivity and separation rates; fostering of green transportation and energy supply technologies due to lower H2 prices; reduction of fossil fuels dependence and as such will increase economic security.
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