Advancing Solid-State Hydrogen Storage Towards Commercialisation
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Existing Energy Storage Solutions and Their Limitations
The current energy storage market in the UK is dominated by diesel generators, battery technology and pumped hydroelectric storage. Hydroelectric is heavily location dependent and has significant capital costs. Battery technology is dominated by lithium-ion, which has a significant demand for rare earth elements such as lithium and cobalt, and therefore encompasses environmental as well as geopolitical risks. Diesel generators are being phased out with an overall aim to move towards electrification and other new technologies such as hydrogen.
Hydrogen is currently mainly used as a gas in industrial processes. However, it has an important part to play in the journey to net zero as it can be produced from renewable energies and provides a carbon-free energy storage solution. There is a need for a hydrogen storage solution that would even out the peaks and troughs of renewable energy generation. The currently established methods of storing hydrogen are cryogenic as liquid hydrogen or compressing it to high pressures. Both of these methods are expensive due to the necessary equipment and energy required in production and storage.
The new UK government funded project SHyLO aims to add a new solid-state hydrogen storage solution into this mix. H2GO Power’s autonomous system, integrated with artificial intelligence (AI), stores and dispenses hydrogen in solid-state materials. This offers potential savings of up to 55 percent compared to compressing and storing hydrogen at high pressures. It is expected that H2GO Power’s solution could deliver a targeted levelized cost of hydrogen conversion and storage at $0.25 per kg by 2028.
Introducing SHyLO – Storage of Hydrogen at Low pressure
Led by H2GO Power, with participation from Autodesk, ARC, the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC), and HSSMI, the SHyLO project will advance a currently small-scale solid-state hydrogen storage system and build it into a large-scale hydrogen solution, which could be commercialised for different applications. The solution will be supported by an artificial intelligence (AI) platform and, as part of SHyLO, will undergo testing at EMEC’s site in the Orkney Isles. Assessing existing legislation and safety regulations will be a key part of SHyLO and ensure that the upscaled hydrogen system is compliant.
The project has received funding from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) as part of its Low Carbon Hydrogen Supply Competition Stream 2. SHyLO officially commenced on 31 January 2022 and will run for two years.
Competitive Advantages of H2GO’s Solid-State Hydrogen Solution
For over seven years, H2GO Power has been developing a novel hydrogen storage solution, utilising solid state materials to enhance performance and safety characteristics and meet the demands of commercial operations. The H2GO Power solution has several benefits over other currently available solutions:
– Solid-state storage operates near ambient pressures and temperatures, enabling higher efficiency and lower cost storage by eliminating the need for compression and the cooling required by cryogenic liquid storage;
– Storage efficiency is improved due to the larger volumetric energy density of solid-state hydrogen storage;
– The low pressure requirements of a solid-state storage solution eliminates any potential fast vaporisation which can lead to catastrophic failures, improving the overall system safety;
– Hydrogen can be stored using H2GO Power’s solid-state technology for extended periods of time and offers three times the lifetime of battery solutions;
– The H2GO Power solution utilises a standard ISO shipping container design, which makes it a modular, scalable, and easily deployable technology that is suitable for a wide range of environments, including urban environments, basements of city blocks, and oil and gas platforms.
SHyLO will develop this solution towards full commercialisation.
Furthermore, the existing solution will be refined and optimised based on the research done in the project, especially on regulatory and safety requirements, but also on the opportunities to ensure design for manufacture and to optimise the manufacturing and build process to limit costs and increase speed. This will enable the development of a commercially viable higher-volume manufacturing solution.
Scale-Up Strategy to Support Commercialisation
A key part of the SHyLO project will be the manufacturing scale-up strategy. This work will be led by HSSMI and include, for example, defining the high-volume manufacturing process, key suppliers in the supply chain, and opportunities to optimise the design for manufacture characteristics. The strategy will also include specific plans for volume and ramp-up to meet expected demand and the associated timelines. This work will enable the technology to be rolled out across the UK and will be a critical step in commercialising the solid-state hydrogen storage solution.
An Artificial Intelligence Platform to Predict Energy Use
Another innovative aspect of SHyLO is the artificial intelligence platform, or HyAI, which uses algorithmic prediction of the generation, storage, and demand environment. This helps optimise the operation of the H2GO Power storage system. The platform automates everything from data storage and online model training to real-time, on-demand decision making. Just like the storage system itself, the artificial intelligence platform as well is highly modular and scalable, and can easily be configured for a wide variety of use cases, including complex systems that involve various assets across multiple sites. The artificial intelligence platform has been designed to ensure security and scalability in terms of both cost effectiveness and performance.
Testing at EMEC in the Orkney Isles
The overall solution will be trialled at EMEC’s Eday site in the Orkney Isles. It will show the integration of a 1MWh containerised H2GO solid-state hydrogen storage solution with the existing hydrogen infrastructure in Orkney, thus demonstrating a large-scale power-to-gas system. The trials will measure and validate a series of performance characteristics, which will prove this solid-state hydrogen storage solution on a commercial scale.
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