*Levelised cost of hydrogen delivered above 200bara
Industries like ammonia production, refineries and methanol production all require pressure in their chemical processes. Grey and green hydrogen production systems alike rely on unreliable and expensive hydrogen gas compressor systems to achieve this.
It is really hard to compress, requiring huge amounts of energy and complex fast moving hydrogen gas compressors that need to be designed with special materials and lubricants to ensure safety. Due to the risks, downtime is commonplace. High levels of redundancy are built into chemical plants that require high up-time and this multiplies the cost several-fold. These pieces of kit are an operator’s nightmare!
By increasing the pressure of the water going in, rather than compressing the gas coming out, we are able to produce high pressure hydrogen and oxygen much more efficiently and safely. We deliver our customers the hydrogen they need at the pressure they need it.
Future markets for hydrogen such as industrial heat and transport will require high pressures too.
Net Zero Industrial Heat
Today’s 90 million tonnes of hydrogen production serves three key markets:
- Ammonia (36% - for synthetic fertiliser production)
- Refineries (42% - for making more valuable and clean fuels)
- Methanol (15% - for chemical / polymer production)
This market in particular needs to decarbonise. Its resultant emissions due to its use of fossil fuels to produce hydrogen are in the region of 1 billion tonnes of CO2 per year. Even if all nascent applications of hydrogen utilisation did not take off, this market alone is a critical problem to solve to achieve net zero. Low cost, zero emission, high pressure hydrogen will be the tipping point to the shift.
Ammonia production needs approximately 200bara delivery pressure and refineries and methanol production require between 50 and 150bara dependent on the unit operation, making Supercritical’s technology ideal for all existing markets.
Hydrogen is used in metal processes like nickel oxide reduction and has been for decades. The dial is about to be turned up to 11 in the metal sector however! Coal use remains a big part the steel industry, and a huge contributor to CO2 emissions and other pollutants. Hydrogen has the potential to displace coal due to its capabilities to reduce iron ore to iron.
A Hydrogen Europe study predicted that a typical primary steel plant in the EU would require 1.3GW of renewable powered electrolysers at 100% capacity factor. At a solar driven capacity factor, that rises to 5.0GW.
We did a study with OZ Minerals, a modern mining company, now part of BHP, one of the largest mining companies in the world. We confirmed that in the case of high pressure fuel cell applications, typical low pressure electrolyser systems would require 10x more energy to compress to storage pressures of 350bara and would require 3 stages of compression and cooling compared to Supercritical’s 1 stage.