Wiki - All about hydrogen

Updated on 17 May 2024

Hydrogen

Being the most abundant substance in the universe, hydrogen plays a crucial role in many aspects of both cosmic and terrestrial existence. Stars, including our sun, consist primarily of the element in its plasma state. On Earth, it is a key component in countless chemical compounds and is fundamental to life itself. In our company’s context, one particular property of the gas is most relevant, its role as an energy carrier of the future.

Hydrogen as an energy carrier #

Hydrogen is increasingly recognized as a versatile and promising energy carrier with the potential to significantly contribute to a sustainable energy future. Unlike conventional fossil fuels, it produces no direct emissions of pollutants or greenhouse gases when used in fuel cells or burned, emitting only water vapor as a byproduct. This makes hydrogen an attractive option for reducing carbon footprints across various sectors, including transportation, industry, and power generation. Its high energy content per unit mass further enhances its appeal, allowing for efficient storage and transport of energy. Hydrogen can be produced from diverse resources, including natural gas, biomass, and water via electrolysis powered by renewable energy sources (see also: green hydrogen) . This flexibility supports energy security and the integration of renewable energy into the energy system by acting as a buffer to balance supply and demand. Despite the challenges related to storage, infrastructure, and production costs, ongoing advancements in technology and economies of scale are steadily improving the feasibility of widespread application as a key component in the transition to a cleaner, more resilient energy system.

Important properties #

At standard conditions, hydrogen (H) is a gas of molecules with two hydrogen atoms (H2). The gas does not have color, odor, or taste. It is not toxic but combustible. With a lower heating value (LHV) of 120 MJ/kgH2, the molecule has a very high energy density. However, the volumetric density of just 90 gH2/Nm3 at standard conditions, it is also very light, which makes storing larger quantities in a gaseous state challenging. Since its boiling point is at -253°C, storing it as a liquid requires very low temperatures and is therefore technically complex.

The relation to GRZ #

In the DASH storage technology, hydrogen is stored neither in the liquid nor in the gaseous form, but as a solid in an inorganic carrier material, the metal hydride. The basis of this form of storage is that the metallic compounds used by GRZ Technologies absorb the hydrogen under the right conditions. This process is shown in the figure below.

Hydrogen is absorbed in a solid carrier material

However, the basic properties of metal hydrides allow using it not only for storage, but also for compression. GRZ has been a pioneer in this technology since its foundation. Until today, for all GRZ products, an inflow of hydrogen is the starting point.

While hydrogen as a carrier of renewable energy played only a very minor role only a few years ago, the picture has changed. This can be seen, for example, in the IEA’s interactive map of hydrogen production projects.

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