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Decarbonising industry with green hydrogen

Part of Today in the Lab - Tomorrow in Energy?

Today in the Lab – Tomorrow in Energy? shines a spotlight on research projects under development in the Technology Collaboration Programmes (TCPs). Learn more about the initiative, read the launch commentary, or explore the TCPs.


What is the aim of this project?

The H2Future project aims to produce “green” hydrogen – using electricity generated from renewable energy sources – for use in industrial processes such as the production of chemicals, iron and steel, food and semiconductors, as well as in oil and gas refineries and in mobility applications. The project will also investigate the potential to provide grid services to compensate for fluctuations in wind and solar energy.

How could this technology be explained to a high-school student?

An electric current is used to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. As the direct current is passed through the water, oxygen is formed at the positive anode while hydrogen is released at the negative cathode. In conventional electrolysis an additive such as salt is used to increase the conductivity. In PEM (polymer electrolyte membrane) electrolysis, a proton membrane allows particles to pass between anode and cathode, replacing additives in the water and making the process more environmentally friendly. The outcome is hydrogen and oxygen produced using “green” (decarbonised) electricity, and the recovered green hydrogen can be compressed and stored.   

What is the value of this project for society?

  • decarbonises industrial processes
  • provides grid balancing services
  • creates jobs in Europe
  • increases the use of renewable energy and reduces reliance on imported fossil fuels

At what stage of development is this project?

The H2Future project began in January 2017 and the pilot plant was completed and set in operation in November 2019. The atmospheric PEM electrolyser consists of 12 500 kW modules totalling 6 MW. Its ability to deliver hydrogen and provide electricity balancing grid services is being validated. The project has made an outstanding contribution in promoting green hydrogen in the EU energy agenda.

What government policies could bring this from the lab to the market?

  • exempting electrolysers from grid fees, taxes and levies
  • providing access to curtailed electricity and grid service revenues
  • recognising the value and price of green hydrogen

The H2Future pilot plant in Linz, Austria. Source: Voestalpine


Partners

  • Verbund
  • Voestalpine
  • Siemens
  • Austrian Power Grid
  • K1-MET
  • TNO

Funders

Fuel Cells and Hydrogen 2 Joint Undertaking (under grant agreement No 735503).


About the Technology Collaboration Programme on Hydrogen (Hydrogen TCP)

Established in 1977, the Hydrogen TCP works to accelerate hydrogen implementation and widespread utilisation in the areas of production, storage, distribution, power, heating, mobility and industry. Members benefit from the TCP’s global research outreach and robust industry participation.

Contact: marina.holgado@ieahydrogen.org