Reaction & Synthesis

Collaboration Aims For Safe, Scalable Hydrogen Storage

By Chemical Processing Staff

Jun 15, 2018

Clariant Catalysts forms an alliance with clean energy company Hydrogenious Technologies to present a safer, more efficient alternative for storing and transporting very large amounts of clean hydrogen from renewable source to enable emission-free mobility and cleaner industry processes, according to the company.  

Hydrogen from renewable energy sources, such as wind and hydro power, has long been recognized as a more efficient and more environmentally friendly fuel, according to Clariant. However, fluctuations in weather conditions necessitate cost-effective, large-scale storage in order to ensure a steady supply of electrical energy. Moreover, hydrogen's very low density, high flammability and extreme volatility present significant challenges to both storage and transportation. Conventional storage methods typically involve either physical compression (200–700 bar) or extreme cooling (–253°C) of hydrogen, both of which are energy intensive and carry significant safety risks, according to Clariant.

Hydrogenious Technologies has reportedly developed a means of transporting hydrogen by chemically binding the molecules to liquid organic hydrogen carriers (LOHC). Hydrogenation of the liquid organic hydrocarbon dibenzyltoluene via Clariant’s EleMax H catalyst allows hydrogen to be “stored,” while its dehydrogenation with EleMax D “releases” hydrogen on demand. The highly active Clariant catalysts are designed to offer selectivity for loading and unbinding hydrogen in order to optimize the life-cycle and efficiency of the LOHC.

Non-explosive, non-toxic and of low flammability, the diesel-like hydrogen-bound compound is not classified a hazardous good, and remains in a useable and convenient liquid state through a broad temperature range of -39°C to 390°C at ambient pressure. These factors reportedly allow easier installation at industrial locations as well as commercial and public fueling sites, even in close range of or within residential areas. It also allows for the handling flexibility required to enable a wide spread roll-out of hydrogen production from renewable power sources (power-to-gas), according to Clariant.

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