New HyCARE scientific paper just released!

HyCARE’s researchers of the University Of Turin  (Italy), the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (France), the Helmholtz-Zentrum hereon GmbH (Germany), together with the Institute for Energy Technology (Norway) published the results of the analysis of neutron diffraction data.

Abstract:

Hydrogen is an efficient energy carrier that can be produced from renewable sources, enabling the transition towards CO2-free energy. Hydrogen can be stored for a long period in the solid-state, with suitable alloys. Ti-rich TiFe0.90 compound exhibits a mild activation process for the first hydrogenation, and Ti(Fe,Mn)0.90 substituted alloys can lead to the fine tuning of equilibrium pressure as a function of the final application. In this study, the crystal structure of TiFe(0.90-x)Mnx alloys (x = 0, 0.05 and 0.10) and their deuterides has been determined by in-situ neutron diffraction, while recording Pressure-Composition Isotherms at room temperature. The investigation aims at analysing the influence of Mn for Fe substitution in Ti-rich Ti(Fe,Mn)0.90 alloys on structural properties during reversible deuterium loading, which is still unsolved and seldom explored. After activation, samples have been transferred into custom-made stainless-steel and aluminium alloy cells used for in-situ neutron diffraction experiments during deuterium loading at ILL and ISIS neutron facilities, respectively. The study enables remarkable understanding on hydrogen storage, basic structural knowledge, and support to the industrial application of TiFe-type alloys for integrated hydrogen tank in energy storage systems by determining the volume expansion during deuteration. Furthermore, the study demonstrates that different contents of Mn do not significantly change the volumetric expansion during phase transitions, affecting only the deuterium content for the γ phase and the cell evolution for the β phase. The study confirms that the deuterated structures of the γ phase upon absorption, β and α phase upon desorption, correspond to S.G. Cmmm, P2221 and Pm-3m, respectively.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijhydene.2022.06.295

The article is available in Open access at this link.

Hydrogen Week 2022: two HyCARE researchers awarded!

Every year, the international and non-profit association Hydrogen Europe Research organises a competition that aims at rewarding and give visibility to the work of young researchers, who have personally contributed to a hydrogen-related project.

The initiative wishes to encourage the involvement of students and researchers in the Clean Hydrogen Partnership projects, and attract young talents to work in the field of hydrogen and fuel cells.

This year, the Award Cerimony took place in Brussels during the European Hydrogen Week, the biggest annual event dedicated to hydrogen.

Erika Michela Dematteis, researcher at the University of Turin (Italy) won the title of Best Researcher of the Year.

Michele Bolognese, researcher at Fondazione Bruno Kessler (Italy) received the Young Scientist Award 2022.

 

Il Sole 24 ORE writes about HyCARE

“Idrogeno verde, lo stoccaggio trova nuove vie sostenibili” is the title of the article that was published well-known Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 ORE.

Following a brief introduction on the hydrogen characteristics and potential, the article draws the attention on the metal hybrid which can solve the on the issues that are often encountered through the storage process.

In this occasion, the articles indicates the project HyCARE and outlines the studies that are being done on the metal hybrid and the sustainable storage solutions explored by the project.

Read the article here: https://www.ilsole24ore.com

HyCARE on Tech4Future

A new article is now in the Tech4Future online Italian magazine: “Stoccaggio idrogeno: le tecnologie per renderlo più sostenibile (Hydrogen storage: technologies to make it more sustainable)”.

The hydrogen storage is a process which is capturing attention due to the crucial role that it might have to develop this energy carrier, and contribute to solving fundamental questions and boosting the sustainability of the entire hydrogen system.

In the article, the research group from Università degli Studi di Torino explains the main project objectives and results, focusing on the metal hydrides potentials.

Read the article online, at this link.

New HyCARE scientific paper published in the International Journal of Hydrogen Energy

HyCARE’s researchers Jussara Barale of the Univerity of Turin (Italy) published the results on the alloy TiFe0.85Mn0.05 and

Abstract:

Moving from basic research to the implementation of hydrogen storage system based on metal hydride, the industrial production of the active material is fundamental. The alloy TiFe0.85Mn0.05 was selected as H2-carrier for a storage plant of about 50 kg of H2. In this work, a batch of 5 kg of TiFe0.85Mn0.05 alloy was synthesized at industrial level and characterized to determine the structure and phase abundance. The H2 sorption properties were investigated, performing studies on long-term cycling study and resistance to poisoning. The alloy absorbs and desorbs hydrogen between 25 bar and 1 bar at 55 °C, storing 1.0H2 wt.%, displaying fast kinetic, good resistance to gas impurities, and storage stability over 250 cycles. The industrial production promotes the formation of a passive layer and a high amount of secondary phases, observing differences in the H2 sorption behaviour compared to samples prepared at laboratory scale. This work highlights how hydrogen sorption properties of metal hydrides are strictly related to the synthesis method.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijhydene.2022.06.295

The article is available in Open access at this link.

Stühff GmbH: HyCARE system assembly

Interview with Holger Stühff, managing director of Stühff GmbH’s

Author: Marrianna Franchino (Environment Park)

Holger Stühff is the project leader of the development, design and manufacturing of the HyCARE metal hydride hydrogen-storage tanks. Stühff has been working on the assembly of the HyCARE system, integrating multiple components in the container, from the MH (metal hydrides) and the PCM (phase changing materials) tanks to the other components such as measuring instruments, safety devices, electrical cabinet and control unit, needed for the system running. In this interview, we will discover Stühff experience, challenges and next steps as HyCARE partner.

Stühff is in charge to design and manufacturing the HyCARE’s tank, what are the main steps you performed and what was the main challenge overall?

Our role in the HyCARE project is to integrate the system components, design and build the tank which contains all of them. What we found challenging was the refinishing of the process parameters and the step of design and dimension size of the pressure vessels, together with the PCM tank configuration inside the container. During the process, a lot of ideas and suggestions came out from all the project partners. It has been a long way before to find out the final MH and PCM tanks configuration inside the HyCARE plant in order to reach the final goal to store up to 40 kg the hydrogen in the metal hydride. In this process, it was crucial the cooperation with the other partners, specifically with Tecnodelta and GKN for the identification of the right volume of the metal hydride to supply inside the tank and its behaviour, CNRS for what concern the final storage parameters to consider.

Did you perform some changes compared to the initial design?

As I said, it took a long time and efforts to identify the final HyCARE tank layout, specifically waiting for the PCM tank information. Indeed, inside the container, the main volume is occupied by the PCM tank. Our question was if it was better to have the two tanks inside the container or install the PCM outside, since its significant volume at the expense of the heat exchanger system performance. Finally, we decided to confirm both of the tanks to be placed inside the HyCARE container, enabling the best conditions for the heat management operations.

Did Stühff find some issues during this period of materials scarcity and how did you manage them?

As Stühff, we started to have troubles with some products supply since the beginning of 2022, especially for some electrical components coming from China and causing problems to the European supply chain. Currently, we are still waiting for one of these electrical products which is crucial for the system finalisation. Thinking to another solution, we concluded together with the Consortium that replacing it with another one was not worth the efforts. The consequences would be a redefinition of the design, other expenditures without the assurance to receive it in time. Right now, the best solution is to wait for the defined missing component and finish the HyCARE tank later on the planned time, hoping next October. Anyway, considering the global situation and the Ukraine-Russian conflict, it is not surprising a cost increase for these materials and their scarcity in the next future.

What are the last steps to improve e finalize the hydrogen-heat tank? The commissioning of the system is planned at the ENGIE site, how you coordinate each other and what are the planned time?

After the last electrical component installation next autumn, we will perform last tests for the pre-commissioning step in our Geesthacht site in Germany. If the tests results will be positive, the system will be ready to be sent to Paris at the ENGIE site. Here, the installation will be completed with all the components: besides the MH and the PCM tanks and the pumping system, the Engie’s electrolyser and the fuel cell will be connected to the plant, while the cabinet and the heat management system will be integrated outside the container for safety reasons. Nevertheless the system is very innovative, the operation procedures are not affected by specific risks that are not already mentioned in the HAZOP analysis already taken. Beside these considerations, we look forward to the final event planned on 21st April 2023 at ENGIE Lab Crigen, where the HyCARE demonstration plant will be presented.

What is the added value to work and cooperate with the international team of HyCARE for the final results of the project and the system manufacturing from your point of view?

For Stühff is the first time in an international project and our experience within the Consortium is really positive. It was a true learning process for all of us in these months of activities, on which we have also discovered more on the metal hydrides capacities and on the PCM approach. We hope to replicate again this collaboration in further projects. A special thanks to Marcello Baricco, who played an important role as project coordinator and made the work all together very fruitful.

Tecnodelta: heat recovery system for the HyCARE tank

Interview with Carlo Luetto, managing Director of Tecnodelta

Author: Marianna Franchino (Environment Park)

One of the main innovative components in the HyCARE system is the heat recovery system (using PCM) integrated with the hydrogen storage tank. The integration of the PCM component contributed to improve the energy efficiency of the entire HyCARE tank. Carlo Luetto, owner of Tecnodelta SpA, talks about the challenges and opportunities of developing this important component.

How did Tecnodelta perform the development of the PCM heat storage module?

Our activity on the PCM tank realisation can be summarised in two main steps. A first step dedicated on the engineering of the system was performed together with FBK, exploring different possible design and operating simulations of the heat exchanger system. After several tests, we selected the most suitable design of the system that allows to recover the heat released by the hydrogen reaction with the metal hydrides in the PCM tank and to reuse it when necessary (through phase exchange materials). This system allows to run   without external energy consumption in line with the HyCARE’s project goal. Then, a small-scale prototype was created and sent to Hereon to perform other tests, which gave a second validation on the selected PCM design and confirmation to proceed with the next steps.

PCM – Heat storage manufacturing: aluminum heat exchanger

After the model and design validation, the last step is the manufacturing and the heat exchanger integration with the other components of the HyCARE’ system. Can you explain us what are the last activities Tecnodelta will perform?

After the prototype validation, we proceeded with the PCM tank manufacturing. Overall, 12 ready -to-use tanks were produced inside Tecnodelta factory site (a PCM module with 6 frames as showed in figure below) and sent to Stühff headquarter for the integration with the MH (metal hydride) tanks. Specifically, we performed the PCM powder melting internally, because the process itself is quite slow. The last step to be performed by Tecnodelta is the integration of the cooling part (cooling/heating fluid in the PCM tanks) with the external circuit, where the fluid is treated to manage the temperature during the system operation. At the end of the project, this equipment will be connected together and installed at the ENGIE site, where Tecnodelta will assist the start-up phase and the other activities for a successful system commissioning.

PCM – Heat storage module design: 6 frames with 2 PCM tanks inside each of them

During this research work, did you find any difficulties? What was the main challenge for Tecnodelta?

From our side, we can say the activity did not show any particular problems. Also, the exploration of the design and heat exchanger model was led in cooperation with the other partners, which allowed to overcome any possible difficulties which might have caused breaks in the process development. Of course, the initial design step was challenging. We were looking for an efficient process able to recover all the heat coming from the hydrogen reaction and to design a heat exchanger with the capacity to melt the PCM immediately. Therefore, the big challenge was really to have a good design of the heat exchanger. From the tests performed, I think we reached that goal, thanks to the really good behaviour showed by the heat exchanger during the preliminary test.

The reached goals result from the partners’ cooperation all along the project, what is the added value to work and cooperate with the international team of the HyCARE project?

Tecnodelta is a small company and the participation in the HyCARE project has been an important opportunity for us to work in a big team of international partners for different reasons. Besides the networking potentialities, the collaboration with other partners allowed us to perform activities inside the consortium that we should have otherwise conducted externally (e.g. material analysis, alloys characterisation, etc) with higher expenditure in terms of time and economic resources. Using the other partners’ equipment, improved the efficiency of all the activities and allowed us to learn from their experiences, giving an overall support to the project goals. It has been a really positive collaboration within the Consortium during these years.

New HyCARE scientific paper published in the Journal of Alloys and Compounds

HyCARE’s researchers Giovanni Capurso and José M.Bellosta von Colbe of the Helmholtz-Zentrum Hereon (Germany) published their results on thermal activation methods for industrially produced titanium-iron-manganese powders (TiFeMn) for hydrogen storage.

The work proposes an effective thermal activation method with low technical effort for industrially produced titanium-iron-manganese powders (TiFeMn) for hydrogen storage. In this context, the influence of temperature and particle size of TiFeMn on the activation process is systematically studied. The results obtained from this investigation suggest that the activation of the TiFeMn material at temperatures as low as 50 °C is already possible, with a combination of “Dynamic” and “Static” routines, and that an increase to 90 °C strongly reduces the incubation time for activation, i.e. the incubation time of the sample with the two routines at 90 °C is about 0.84 h, while ∼ 277 h is required for the sample treated at 50 °C in both “Dynamic” and “Static” sequences. Selecting TiFeMn particles of larger size also leads to significant improvements in the activation performance of the investigated material. The proposed activation routine makes it possible to overcome the oxide layer existing on the compound surface, which acts as a diffusion barrier for the hydrogen atoms. This activation method induces further cracks and defects in the powder granules, generating new surfaces for hydrogen absorption with greater frequency, and thus leading to faster sorption kinetics in the subsequent absorption-desorption cycles.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jallcom.2022.165847

The article is available in Open access at this link (until 31 August 2022) and at this link (from 1 September 2022).

Green hydrogen: a valuable asset for the ecological transition

The Turin magazine “Nuovo Consumo” reports the interviews to our coordination Marcello Baricco on the advantages of green hydrogen. Baricco defines green hydrogen as an energy vector that can support the decarbonization of industrial processes and mobility, and the distribution of renewable energy with no GHG emission.

Baricco presents the current drivers and barriers for the uptake of green hydrogen in Europe and presents the HyCARE system as a valuable technology for medium-size hydrogen storage.

Here the full article here (Italian only)