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RHEC – 2021
Solar hydrogen technologies



Title: Advanced methods of green hydrogen production and its transportation
Abbreviation: H2LAB
Funding: Croatian Science Foundation
Type: Installation Research Project

Project description

The H2LAB project opens a new research field related to green hydrogen production and its transportation. The research includes specific measurement methods for these areas, such as potentiostatic and spectroscopic measurements, magnetic and electric field measurements, and material characterization on various bases, justifying a relatively high level of investment in new equipment.

The focus will be on reducing the need for electricity per mole of hydrogen, and on the investigation of the effect of the magnetic field on hydrogen production and current density, depending on the different Lorentz force direction. Energy consumption analyzes will be conducted for different types of porosity of the electrode material, i.e. Ni foam. The best porosity will be selected by evaluating SEM images after electrolysis and energy consumption tests. Hydrogen purity measurement after production and after transportation will be carried out with a hydrogen purity device, after which inlet and outlet temperatures and pressures and flows will be measured.

Along with improving the efficiency of hydrogen production processes, processes involving hydrogen transportation need to be addressed. Hydrogen transport is a crucial factor in the costs, emissions, and energy consumption associated with hydrogen routes involving the central production at the production plant. At present, transportation to existing pipelines seems to be the most economical solution for transporting large quantities of hydrogen over long distances. One way to reduce the cost of transporting hydrogen is to mix it with natural gas. Hydrogen injection into the natural gas pipeline network will be explored here to improve the process of delivering clean hydrogen to markets, using technologies for separating and purifying hydrogen from a natural gas mixture near the end-use point. The hypothesis is that under appropriate conditions and relatively low concentrations of hydrogen, mixing may require only minor changes in the operation and maintenance of the pipeline network and should not significantly affect the investment of pipeline adaptation to hydrogen use.

Scientific Contribution

The scientific contribution of the H2LAB project is expected in the field of green hydrogen production and its transportation through existing gas pipelines to the end-user.

Investigations and estimates of the optimal hydrogen concentration in the gas mixture will result in recommendations for the possible use of the Croatian gas pipeline network, up to an extent where those modifications, at the initial stage of transition, are acceptable. It is possible that entirely new measurement and/or analytical methods, mathematical models, and/or sensors will be developed, specifically tailored to the specific needs that will arise during the implementation of project activities.

Contribution to the Economy

The new design of an electrolyzer is to be constructed without a membrane with the additional introduction of a magnetic (and optical) field, which should ensure higher hydrogen production efficiency.

This would allow a drastic reduction in the cost of mass production of hydrogen, which, along with transportation through existing gas pipelines, would make technology in the price range with today’s conventional fuels/energy sources. This would open opportunities for the Croatian industry to become involved in the production of the electrolyzers, which would enable job creation and education of experts in this specialized field of hydrogen technology, which would have a direct impact on the Croatian economy.