DST participates in Mission Innovation workshop on hydrogen in energy transition

The Department of Science and Technology (DST) participated in Mission Innovation Hydrogen Valleys Workshop, Antwerp, Belgium focusing on the concept of ‘Hydrogen Valleys’ as a pathway for demonstrating the significance of hydrogen in the energy transition.

‘Hydrogen Valley’ is a geographical area – a city, a region, an island or an industrial cluster - where several hydrogen applications are combined together into an integrated hydrogen ecosystem that consumes a significant amount of hydrogen, improving the economics behind the project. It should ideally cover the entire hydrogen value chain: production, storage, distribution and final use.

Dr. Ranjith Krishna Pai, Principal Scientific Officer from Technology Mission Division (Energy & Water), DST, made a presentation on India country status report on Renewable and Clean Hydrogen and participated in the parallel sessions – Hydrogen technology, Storage and local distribution, Hydrogen in energy intensive industries, and cross-cutting issues.

The participants from Mission Innovation countries exchanged information about the first “Hydrogen Valley” projects at the two day workshop organised on March 27, 2019. They discussed and agreed on the concept of the Mission Innovation information-sharing platform around ‘Hydrogen Valleys’ which offer a pathway for scaling up and making this technology a viable solution.

The workshop saw the participation of more than 80 attendees with interest in nascent ‘Hydrogen Valley’ projects from Mission Innovation Hydrogen Challenge member countries. The participants included representatives of government and international organisations, industry and research.

Fourteen case studies were presented from all major jurisdictions exploring hydrogen as a future energy vector: Australia, Austria, Chile, China, EU, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, UK and US, with additional input from the Port of Antwerp and Hydrogen Council. Multiple project types were presented - from industry driven clusters, through ports, communities and regions with abundant renewable energy or those under pressure to tackle air pollution issues, up to mining sites or knowledge driven communities. The workshop focused on multinational research and large scale demonstration efforts from both public and private sectors on industry-directed breakthroughs which have a realistic prospect of underpinning commercial and clean hydrogen industries.

The areas of discussion focused on durability – a key to commercialization, performance in terms of power density improvements, materials, consistency and infrastructure and fuelling – automotive fuelling related innovation like storage tanks, interfaces, measuring and quality devices, portable storage devices for non-auto applications. Manufacturability at volume and cost effectively e.g. reducing components, alternative and cheaper materials, manufacturing process driven improvements, and development of new photocatalyst – the need to develop new catalysts useful under solar light for the decomposition of water/hydrogen sulphide into hydrogen / photodecomposition of organic pollutants are also discussed.

The other areas of discussion were the following:

  • The institutions/industry may be identified to work in PPP model for commercialization of the balance of plant and simultaneously, the technology for the production of electrochemical stack may ne procured or developed indigenously.
  • Extensive R&D is required to be undertaken concerning the photo-electrochemical measurements for hydrogen generation via photo-splitting of water by employing the promising semiconductors.
  • Development of materials for lightweight hydrogen cylinder – Includes development of lightweight composite materials for hydrogen storage which can resist embrittlement and flames.
  • Cryogenic pressure vessels can store gaseous hydrogen at high densities without evaporation losses at reasonable cost. However, these require high performance insulations. Maintenance of low temperatures in mobile devices is also an issue to be looked into.
  • There is a need to gain industry consensus on the suitability of composite storage cylinders for ground storage and commercial transport, as well as clearer requirement on the pressures as well as hydrogen fuel quality specification.
  • Capability of manufacture large quantities of both conventional (metal hydrides) and novel (complex hydride, metal-organic frameworks, etc) storage materials need to developed.
  • Intensive research on liquid organic hydride and other liquid hydrocarbons with high hydrogen storage capacity may be taken up.
  • Cost-wise hydrogen vehicles do not compete in the market with the existing vehicles. Therefore, the governments of respective countries are supporting development and promotion of these vehicles at various stages/levels.

The workshop prepared the ground for taking forward the Renewable and Clean Hydrogen Challenge has the ambition to enable cross-border research and development activities and large scale demonstration along the full value chain including hydrogen production, distribution and usage as well as international information sharing. It is also likely to lay the foundation for large scale projects like Monitor national deployments (database), initiate multi-national projects demonstrating the full value chain with a scope to proof the feasibility of innovative concepts and new technologies and create awareness and acceptance.