Hydrogen technology company Hystar is receiving NOK 38.25 million from state-owned Enova for testing an electrolyzer that will reduce electricity consumption. – For us, this is the most important thing that happens, says the product manager.
Together with Equinor and Gassco, the company is now launching a pilot project testing a container-based PEM (proton exchange membrane) electrolyzer of approximately one megawatt at Kårstø.
Hystar Product Manager Magnus Thomassen was delighted with the award.
– For us, this is the most important thing that happens. This is our first unit in the field under real operating conditions, and an electrolyzer that will be close to a commercial product, Thomassen tells E24.
Our goal is to have an electrolyzer that meets international standards and can be turned into a commercial product with small improvements, he adds.
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– Starts in a month
Enova’s support makes up about half of the funding, while the rest is a joint venture between Equinor, Gassco and Hystar, Thomassen says.
The pilot project begins within a month, and will run in 2023 and 2024, with just over a year of testing time at Kårstø. Then we’ll see what happens to that unit next, whether it’s turned on or moved elsewhere, Thomassen says.
This technology is based on Sintef’s research on a PEM electrolyzer. Now nearly 10,000 hours of testing are waiting for you. The technology is likely to be able to reduce energy consumption by about 10 percent compared to other PEM electrolyzers.
What can this technology do that electrolyzers do not do today?
It is a patented process for the PEM electrolyzer that allows us to use thinner films. Thomassen says this results in lower energy consumption, or in other words, higher production capacity.
– We have changed the way of operation of the electrolyzer, we supply air on the positive electrode side of the electrolyzer. This prevents an explosive mixture with a lot of hydrogen in the oxygen, he adds, and means we can have thinner films than has been traditionally used.
According to Innova, about 70 percent of the cost of producing green hydrogen comes from purchasing electricity. This means that significant gains can be made by improving the efficiency of operations, as Hystar is doing with its technology.
Equinor and Gassco are potential end users of this technology. Gassco operates the Norwegian gas pipeline system and is interested in learning more about hydrogen’s role in the energy sector and how they can export it. Equinor is interested in the potential for hydrogen production from renewable energy.
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The cost should come down
Climate and Environment Minister Espen Barth Eide met Hestar this week.
The cost of hydrogen production should go down and efficiency rise. Hystar delivers on this, which is why this project is so important, Eddie says in a comment.
The government has big ambitions for hydrogen produced with low or no emissions. At the Hurdal platform, we are clear that we want to contribute to a cohesive hydrogen value chain where production, distribution and use are developed in parallel, he says.
Eddy wants to invest in hydrogen production from gas (so-called reform) and by electricity (electrolysis), and that use will increase in industry and shipping, among other places.
Hystar demonstrates the important role research and development plays in developing coherent hydrogen value chains. If Hystar succeeds, this could be an example of how developing a cost-effective technology can reduce emissions, increase value creation and employment in Norway, says Eddy.
Hystar is owned by the British company Sintef Ventures Up Ventures It is an investment fund targeting the hydrogen sector with Nysnø, Equinor and Yara among the investors and entrepreneur investment firm Geir Førre. Verda. In addition, entrepreneurs own a large stake.
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