Hydrogen economy 

Trends and innovations
  The establishment of a hydrogen economy has long been in the works, but due to several reasons, such as lack of technology, infrastructure, or investments, the industry struggled with this energy transition. Over the past decade, however, with the global push towards decarbonisation, along with developments in existing technologies, the hydrogen economy is poised to accelerate at scale. Fuel cells have the biggest impact, aiding in zero-emissions heavy-duty vehicles, which currently contribute to greenhouse gas emissions.
  The scalability and affordability of renewable energy systems, as well as advancements in electrolysers, allow for sustainable hydrogen production, also called green hydrogen. Technologies that utilise hydrogen to synthesise intermediaries further increase hydrogen’s utility as an energy carrier. 

Impact Of Hydrogen Economy Trends
    The hydrogen economy will be bolstered by the applications of fuel cells, fuel cell vehicles, and energy demand. In particular, renewable hydrogen, as well as carbon capture, utilisation, and storage (CCUS) have a major influence on all other trends because of their inter-relationship with clean hydrogen production.
    Biomass gasification, among the set of X-to-Hydrogen-to-X technologies, provides another sustainable method for creating hydrogen. Besides, hydrogen distribution and storage go hand-in-hand as distribution relies directly on the proper storage and handling capabilities of the fuel. Finally, other important applications of hydrogen include combined heat and power (CHP) and green propulsion, which demonstrate the versatility of hydrogen as an energy carrier.

Hydrogen Fuel Cells
    Hydrogen fuel cells provide instantaneous power generation and also aid in demand response. The latter is especially relevant as hydrogen bridges the gap between fluctuations in power generation for renewable energy systems (RES) and a grid powered solely by renewables. Hydrogen fuel cells solve demand response problems by acting as a power source as well as reserve energy for months. Fuel cells are also in use for marine, land, and aviation operations, as well as in ships, trains, planes, drones, cars, trucks, and buses. In particular, heavy industrial vehicles become the primary focal point in the hydrogen economy because of their considerable contribution to greenhouse gas emissions.
    BWR Innovations provides portable hydrogen fuel cell solutions. Sol Source SFC110 Fuel Cell Generator is BWR Innovations’ fuel cell-powered sanitisation product. It is a portable fuel cell generator and heater that inactivates a variety of biological contaminants, including viruses, bacteria, parasites, and fungi. The device disinfects rooms of up to 600 sq. ft without leaving residual chemicals or toxins. This allows for emission-free sanitisation of facilities and equipment, including medical personal protective equipment (PPE). Users also monitor the products from their computers or mobile devices.

Renewable Hydrogen
    Producing hydrogen from renewable sources of energy helps in achieving large-scale decarbonisation. Using RES to produce green hydrogen eliminates the carbon emissions typically prevalent in conventional hydrogen production from fossil fuels. Solar energy presents options for hydrogen production, for example, through photocatalytic water splitting or thermochemical water splitting. By using solar concentrators in these arrangements, achieving high levels of radiation to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. In addition, wind turbines also contribute to green hydrogen production through electrolysis. Coupled with fuel cells or hydrogen carriers, renewable sources allow for effective power demand response. Although at a smaller scale currently, some companies do utilise hydropower to produce hydrogen.
    Solar energy to produce green hydrogen. The project SUNRHYSE powers a 30 MW electrolysis plant using green electricity via solar panels. In the process, it supplies hydrogen for the mobility and maritime sectors. The aim of this project is to enable competitive pricing of hydrogen, ensure transportation and distribution, as well as establish power storage facilities to supplement the grid. HY2GEN is involved in several other projects, like HYNOVERA that synthesises e-fuels through biomass gasification, or JANGADA, which synthesises bio-methanol through green hydrogen.

Advanced Electrolysis
    The development of advanced electrolysis technologies primarily allows for the greater scalability of hydrogen production units. Increasingly favored because of reduction in operating expenditures, as well as capital expenditures, proton exchange membrane or polymer electrolyte membrane electrolyzers (PEM) serve both industrial and residential purposes. Solid oxide electrolyzers (SOE) and anion-exchange membrane electrolyzers (AEM) are some of the other prevalent types of electrolyzers. Because of the low operating temperature, SOEs do not utilise precious metals as catalysts, while AEM electrolyzers are a type of alkaline electrolyzers, where, instead of hydrogen ions, hydroxide ions flow across the membrane. The overall efficiency of electrolyzers depends on the bipolar plates, the material of the electrodes, and the catalysts used in the reaction.
    Scalable electrolyzers for both residential and industrial use. EL580N is the large-scale electrolyzer, with the capacity to produce 1,251 kgs of hydrogen per day. They custom-builds the electrolyzer according to regional standards while integrating it into a 40 ft container. The electrolyzer comes with CE marking and hazard & operability studies (HAZOP) conducted, along with an option for ETL stamps.

    The hydrogen economy depends not only on hydrogen but also on chemical intermediaries of the fuel that are useful in their own capacities. e-Fuels, such as e-methanol, produce low carbon emissions, originate from hydrogen, and are directly integrable into internal combustion (IC) engines. Methanol and methane are other chemicals that are by-products of hydrogen production and apply hydrogen back into circulation. Especially critical in terms of decarbonisation is the conversion of waste to hydrogen. Nowadays, achieving this through gasification, pyrolysis, fermentation, and reforming processes. Waste-to-hydrogen solutions aim to solve the waste crisis while producing hydrogen with zero or low carbon emissions.
    Producing biohydrogen from wastewater. The device, OB HYDRACEL, is a self-powered solution that produces hydrogen from effluents at industrial sites. It is a retrofittable device, with its own power generator, designed to resemble pipelines, which can be directly attached to effluent pipelines in factories and industrial venues. The solution enables both the purification of wastewater and the production of hydrogen, stored or used for industrial applications.

Hydrogen Carriers
    Although hydrogen is typically transported in liquid or gaseous form, the handling and operating constraints of pure hydrogen put a heavy strain on the storage containers. Hydrogen carriers are hydrides or compounds of hydrogen, forming through the chemical reaction of a metal or a chemical with hydrogen. Typically, this is easy to transport over long distances. Storing these carriers is also convenient and, with additional research and development (R&D) into hydrogen carriers, it looks to increase the purity and efficiency of the separation process to produce the hydrogen. Metal hydrides, like magnesium hydride, further possess the capacity to chemically store hydrogen in their metallic lattice. LOHC, chemical hydrides, and nanostructures are also under investigation and development for transporting hydrogen.
    Metallic alloys for the storage of hydrogen. H2Heat’s novel hydrogen storage system stores hydrogen atoms in a solid-state nanocomposite based on complex metallic alloys using atomic bonds and a micro-heat transfer system. The H2 gas passes through a special plate to dissociate the hydrogen molecules to hydroxide atoms. The product stores hydrogen at a higher storage density than compressed hydrogen, at high purity (99.99%). Because it operates at a lower pressure, the platform is also a safer alternative than traditional storage systems.

Carbon Capture, Utilisation & Storage (CCUS)
    The current global production of hydrogen primarily uses fossil fuels, making it unsustainable. Popular methods like steam methane reforming and coal gasification contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, and until alternatives become cost- and power-effective, these will continue to be the main sources of hydrogen production. Incorporating CCUS, or blue hydrogen technologies drastically reduce the environmental impact of conventional production methods and increases the sustainability of the processes. These technologies are incorporated into large-scale hydrogen production venues to decrease carbon emissions or convert them into usable feedstock for other processes. For example, CCUS enables the production of fertilizers and is useful in enhanced oil recovery (EOR). Moreover, forming solid carbon by-products is an effective method of reusing the wastes of hydrogen production. Furthermore, redirecting gaseous carbon emissions for use in other industrial processes ensures zero waste and emission loops.
    blue hydrogen. Arctic Blue Hydrogen is the product, which helps in delivering blue hydrogen to the hydrogen economy. With their carbon storage solution Polaris, the company utilizes hydrogen to produce blue ammonia to allow for transportation and storage of the blue hydrogen. They contribute to the widespread usage of hydrogen through the production and transportation of blue ammonia. The ammonia is cracked back to hydrogen at the destination, and besides this, ammonia by itself provides 4.02 MWh of carbon-free energy per cubic meter, contending as a powerful source of emissions-free energy.    

Hydrogen Distribution
    A major hurdle for building the hydrogen economy is the transportation and distribution of the fuel. Depending on the site of production and usage, different methods of distribution are under consideration. The regional distribution of hydrogen through new pipelines or retrofitting current natural gas pipelines is gaining traction. Trains and ships also transport hydrogen, in either liquid or gaseous form, across regions. Tube trailers and liquid tankers are viable solutions for distributing hydrogen through highways. The handling of the hydrogen storage containers is important because of the flammability and material-embrittling nature of hydrogen. Hydrogen refueling stations also enable hydrogen highways and mitigate refueling challenges of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, especially in trucks and buses.
    Hydroco develops cross-industry solutions for hydrogen distribution. They provides gas transportation services to supply bulk hydrogen gas on-site for customers. By selling and renting tube trailers, it accelerates the establishment of the hydrogen economy. They involved in providing need-specific solutions for the transportation and storage of compressed hydrogen gas. Hydroco also provides consultations for compressed gas systems and portable refueling stations for CNG.

Hydrogen Liquefaction & Compression
    The need to develop containers that store hydrogen is crucial for scaling the hydrogen economy. The most usable form of storing liquid hydrogen is in cryogenic tanks, also known as dewars. These containers handle liquid hydrogen at a temperature of -253 C, without leakages, while sustaining purity. There are various types of dewars ranging from Type I to Type IV, depending on the materials in the walls and their carrying capacity. In addition, compressed gas storage tanks are useful to store high-pressure hydrogen gas. Hydrogen gas is relatively easier to handle in comparison to liquified hydrogen because of the temperature constraints of liquid hydrogen. However, it is not ready to use in industrial applications. Cryo-compressed hydrogen involves high-pressure storage of hydrogen to decrease boil-off upon exposure to the atmosphere, making it cost-effective and easy to handle.
    CYRUS designs metal hydride hydrogen compressors (MHC) for transportation applications. They have developed a thermal-powered MHC that works by absorbing hydrogen at low pressure and temperature and desorbing it at higher pressure by raising the temperature with an external heat source. These compressors are suitable for operation in RES or industrial waste heat facilities and do not use critical raw materials. Furthermore, due to zero noise and low ecological impact production, the compressors can be installed in residential areas.

Combined Heat & Power (CHP)
    Decarbonising the CHP sector is one of the goals of the hydrogen economy. Current methodologies include blending hydrogen by combining a lean mixture of hydrogen in existing natural gas pipelines, enabling industrial and residential heating.   Current standards allow the mixture to include up to 10% hydrogen and allow existing pipelines to safely handle the gas. Blended hydrogen is also useful in stationary gas turbines and generators since it reduces greenhouse gas emissions during power generation. Besides, novel types of combustion boilers and hybrid heat pumps also use hydrogen to achieve sustainable heating.
    Hydrogen gas turbines for CHP. The hydrogen-fueled gas turbine, TURBOTEC HyTG-550 is designed as marine propulsion and generator unit. The engine offers 550kW of electric power and in a CHP unit, it provides up to 950kW of thermal power. The turbine is modular and can fit in a 20 ft. high cube shipping container. Furthermore, the turbine is suitable for parallelisation to obtain the desired power output in a larger hybrid-electric system. They also offer HyTG-100, a hydrogen-fueled gas turbine generator, suitable for light hybrid-electric aviation and power generation in CHP or offshore units.

Hydrogen Propulsion
    Utilising Hydrogen as a fuel for space propulsion is promising since it has a decent energy-to-density ratio as liquid hydrogen. Propulsion entails the direct usage of hydrogen fuel to power rockets, airplanes, and jets, with liquid oxygen-hydrogen systems gaining in popularity for space propulsion. Recent developments in space technology see blending hydrogen with other fuels to power turbines and propellants to achieve green propulsion. Hybrid-electric systems are especially remarkable in terms of achieving low emissions mobility. Hydrogen peroxide, a derivative of hydrogen, is an alternative fuel under R&D for its potential utility as space vehicle propulsion.
    Hybrid-electric propulsion systems for airplanes and electric-vertical take-off and landing (E-VTOL) vehicles. TG-R55 and TG-R90 are turbogenerators that produce electric power onboard. When used in conjunction with batteries, they offer up to 10 times more range, compared to full-electric plane systems. The turbogenerators combine electric generators and turbines, fitted with integrated annular exchangers which enable exhaust gas energy recovery. The turbogenerators allow for lower weight expenditure on the vehicle, increasing efficiency of travel. They also design a low emission turboprop engine, TP-R90.