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Reference Number NIA_CAD0022
Title Hydrogen Grid to Vehicle (HG2V); Network purity for Transport.
Status Completed
Energy Categories Hydrogen and Fuel Cells 70%;
Energy Efficiency(Transport) 30%;
Research Types Applied Research and Development 100%
Science and Technology Fields ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY (Mechanical, Aeronautical and Manufacturing Engineering) 100%
UKERC Cross Cutting Characterisation Not Cross-cutting 40%;
Sociological economical and environmental impact of energy (Policy and regulation) 60%;
Principal Investigator Project Contact
No email address given
Cadent Gas
Award Type Network Innovation Allowance
Funding Source Ofgem
Start Date 01 July 2018
End Date 01 March 2021
Duration ENA months
Total Grant Value £1,490,500
Industrial Sectors Energy
Region London
Programme Network Innovation Allowance
Investigators Principal Investigator Project Contact , Cadent Gas (100.000%)
  Industrial Collaborator Project Contact , Cadent Gas (0.000%)
Web Site
Objectives FCEVs require hydrogen of significantly higher purity (> 99.9999%) than the hydrogen currently produced by industry for a range of other applications. These stringent purity requirements are based on accepted threshold levels of 14 specified contaminants, ranging from high parts per million (e.g. inert gases) down to low parts per billion (e.g. total sulphur compounds). For the purpose of this PEA, high quality means limiting these contaminants below levels at which fuel cell performance can be impaired. Contaminants can inadvertently be introduced to the hydrogen at various points in the supply chain, which consists of the following stages:-1. Hydrogen Production – hydrogen can be produced by a range of methods, including Steam Methane Reforming (SMR) and electrolysis of water. These different methods will produce hydrogen of varying quality, i.e. with different contaminants depending on the source of hydrogen and equipment/processing.2. Hydrogen Storage – large scale hydrogen storage has not been demonstrated in the UK, although prior to the conversion to natural gas in the 1960s it formed the major component of town gas. The method of storage, for instance storing hydrogen in salt caverns, will likely affect the quality of the hydrogen.3. Hydrogen Transmission/Distribution – hydrogen is distributed around the UK at different pressures, and in pipelines made from a variety of materials ( NB. consideration will be taken for both new and re-purposed gas networks) . The introduction of contaminants in hydrogen arising from the use of these materials requires investigation. Furthermore, high strength steel components can be susceptible to hydrogen embrittlement and this risk needs to be factored into any decision to transition to a hydrogen grid.4. Hydrogen End-Use Applications – Hydrogen can be used for domestic and commercial heating, using hydrogen boilers, or for transport, within hydrogen FCEVs. The end-use-application will greatly affect the quality of hydrogen required.To extract hydrogen from the UK gas network for end-use applications, we need to know:-1. What quality of hydrogen is required for end-use applications? Hydrogen quality is of lower concern for fuel burners than it is for FCEVs.2. What contaminants are introduced by the various stages of the hydrogen supply chain? This will help suppliers/distributors understand what contaminants need to be removed so as not to affect the performance of fuel burners and FCEVs. This is further complicated by the fact that the UK is investigating two potential scenarios for the gas grid; 100% hydrogen and a hydrogen/natural gas blend, the latter of which will add additional contaminants that will need to be investigated.NPL is participating in several pioneering research projects in this area under the European Metrology Programme for Innovation and Research (EMPIR) and the Joint Undertaking in Fuel Cells and Hydrogen (FCH-JU). NPL is coordinating the EMPIR Metrology for Hydrogen Vehicles (MetroHyVe) project and leads work packages in the EMPIR Hydrogen and FCH-JU HYDRAITE projects. NPL also sits on the ISO TC 197 standards committee which sets the ISO standard for hydrogen quality for both FCEVs and hydrogen boilers (ISO 14687). Through this role NPL provides information on the quality of hydrogen required for end-use applications to ensure the standard is fit-for-purpose.Whilst these on-going projects seek to establish more accurate thresholds for existing contaminants in hydrogen when used within FCEVs, a shift to use of hydrogen extracted from the gas grid would open up the possibility of the presence of new contaminants not covered by existing standards. The main focus of this project is to investigate the full range of contaminants introduced by the various stages of the hydrogen supply chain and their impact on end-use applications. We will use information from other projects on the effects of known contaminants and therefore the limiting thresholds for these.This will be investigated for 100% hydrogen networks and for hydrogen/natural gas blends. This proposal addresses the separation, purification, measurement, control and management challenges associated with taking hydrogen from the grid, and using it to power FCEVs (Hydrogen Grid to Vehicle), with a particular focus on the required purity steps to ensure FCEVs are not damaged by contaminants or poor quality hydrogen. Two scenarios will be considered: 100% hydrogen in the gas grid and hydrogen-enriched natural gas (20 % hydrogen in natural gas).Key challenges for the project include:• Understanding the purity of hydrogen in the gas network, for 100% hydrogen and hydrogen-enriched natural gas (20% hydrogen).• Understanding the purity requirements for fuel cell applications, and limitations set by existing standardsKey challenges for the 100% hydrogen scenario include:• Measuring purity to identify hydrogen contaminants and their concentration in hydrogen that is generated by different methods. Contaminants can arise based on the generation process used (e.g. SMR without pressure swing adsorption (PSA) and subject to the gas network environment (e.g. cleanliness of piping and infrastructure). • Impact analysis of odorants on end use applications and proposed purification systems. Similarly to natural gas, hydrogen is odorless therefore to ensure hydrogen gas leaks can be detected an odorant will need to be added. The impact of any odorant on the purification system will be evaluated to understand the potential risk of fuel cell degradation (in vehicle). This aspect will be considered within the project 100% Hydrogen, an NIA project led by SGN, under the work package “Hydrogen Odorant and Leakage Detection”, that will be led by NPL. The results of the SGN project will be used as inputs for this project.• Identifying appropriate purification measures to remove key contaminants. Contaminants will need to be quantified and any subsequent effects on fuel cells investigated; as this will be vital for end-user reassurance of the quality of hydrogen they are receiving.Key challenges for the hydrogen-enriched natural gas scenario include:-• Measuring the purity to identify contaminants and their relative fraction for hydrogen-enriched natural gas. Analysis of the effect of contaminants on fuel cell systems according to end user requirements (i.e. ammonia, formaldehyde or formic acid) will be carried out. Contaminants can arise based on the generation process used and subject to the gas network environment (e.g. cleanliness of piping and infrastructure). • Impact analysis of natural gas odorants on end use applications and potential purification systems. The impact of odorants would need to be evaluated for an understanding as to the effect on any purification system performance. This aspect will be considered within the project 100% Hydrogen; the results of the project will be used as input for this project.• Identification of gas purification and separation technologies. The enrichment of hydrogen from 20 % to high purity may be realised using various technologies (e.g. membranes). A cost-benefit analysis is required in order to determine the best technical combination for separation and purification. The objective of the project is to determine whether the gas network can be re-purposed to create added value from existing infrastructure. We will investigate the contaminations made by the hydrogen supply chain, in order to determine whether a cost-effective separation/purification system can be developed which allows hydrogen to be taken from the gas grid, either pure hydrogen (100%) or hydrogen-enriched natural gas, and used at hydrogen refueling stations for fuel cell vehicles.
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Added to Database 02/11/22