HyFacility - Improved Hydrogen Plants
The optimisation of design and operation as well as the optimal integration of hydrogen plants into the energy system are essential for the successful implementation and efficient use of renewable resources
Hydrogen plants have the potential to replace fossil fuels and provide our renewable energy system with the necessary flexibility to meet the challenges we face now and in the future.
HyFacility focuses on research at the interfaces of the other HyTechonomy sub-projects from the area of Energy & Industry (HyGen, HyStore & Hyfficient) and pursues a holistic approach for optimising the future energy system based on renewable hydrogen. The activities cover the entire value chain from hydrogen production and storage to distribution and application.
Large-scale deployment of hydrogen-based energy systems requires a deep understanding of the energy market and future business models in combination with cost-optimised system layouts. Besides the focus on advanced electrolysis cell and stack designs (HyGen), improved plant peripheral components and system layouts are needed to increase the overall production efficiency as well as the lifetime and reliability of hydrogen infrastructures. These issues are addressed in the HyFacility project through a business case analysis based on system simulations of H2-based plants and an analysis of high potential areas in Austria.
Hydrogen compression as a key technology and current bottleneck of hydrogen plants is of particular interest. State-of-the-art mechanical compressors have high maintenance costs, increased energy requirements, especially in the low-pressure range, require complex designs and lead to high noise emissions during operation. In the course of HyFacility, electrochemical compressors (EHC) are being investigated in detail, which have a high potential to overcome these problems. They are designed similarly to electrolysis cells, have no moving parts and therefore allow for low-maintenance and quiet operation while maintaining high efficiency. In addition, EHCs have the ability to extract pure hydrogen from mixed gases. The technology of the EHC is still at a low TRL (technology readyness level) and specific research is needed on back diffusion and membrane cracking at high differential pressures, the water balance of the membrane, suitable sealing concepts and high overvoltages. The development of a suitable stack design and material selection are required to overcome the challenges and reduce the currently still high costs of the technology. Through the close exchange with the other HyTechonomy subprojects, synergies and the latest findings from electrolysis development can be used to enable rapid technological progress.
Refuelling concepts for large fleets
Current hydrogen refuelling stations are mainly designed for small purchase and storage quantities. Scaling up these facilities to supply large bus and truck fleets presents numerous technical as well as legal challenges. The maximum storage quantity for lower-class SEVESO operations is 5 000 kg of H2, limiting the fleet size that can be refuelled using currently prevailing overflow refuelling from high pressure storage without booster compressors. Therefore, alternative refuelling concepts in line with the operational concepts of the fleet, the bus operation timetable and the corresponding refuelling times are necessary to enable cost-effective solutions for a broad roll-out of the technology. The close integration of bus operation adaptations for zero-emission technologies and advanced infrastructure solutions are therefore in the focus of the project and are also of high importance for the design of highly frequented refuelling stations on e.g. motorways.
The HyFacility project aims to address the challenges with the following research objectives:
Improving the reliability, lifetime and efficiency of electrochemical compression systems
Identification of optimisation potential with regard to efficiency, sustainability and costs for peripheral plant components
Development of overall operating strategies and layouts for hydrogen refuelling stations, taking into account costs, complexity and reliability
Identification of current and future hydrogen potentials and business cases as well as cost- and reliability-optimised plant layouts
04/2022 – 03/2025
Energy & Industry
Project Lead + Contact
HyCentA Research GmbH
AIT GmbH, ÖBB Postbus GmbH, Verbund Thermal Power GmbH