DOE funding for C-Crete Technologies’ new materials for hydrogen storage

C-Crete's nanoengineered materials could store hydrogen produced as byproduct of industrial processes onsite for later use as energy at same facility.

C-Crete Technologies has signed a collaboration agreement with the United States Department of Energy to develop and market a novel class of nanoengineered materials for onsite hydrogen storage in industrial sites where it is produced as a byproduct.

The hydrogen may then be used to generate energy at the same location where it was created and stored. The new material would be low-cost and scalable, with a desirable balance of storage capacity, charge and discharge rates, and energy required to achieve those things, also known as the capacity-kinetics-thermodynamics relationship.

Hydrogen offers appealing opportunities for businesses such as steel manufacture and utilities, because the output gas stream contains hydrogen that is vented as waste. It is an excellent synthetic fuel since it is lightweight and abundant, and its oxidation product — water — is environmentally friendly. It can also be employed in a variety of industrial procedures. While hydrogen production and conversion are mature, its widespread use is hampered by a lack of efficient storage. At the moment, none of the storage alternatives on the market meet the expectations of end users, particularly for long-term storage.

“Not only will our new material be capable of long-duration storage, we envision the storage and subsequent use of the hydrogen byproduct in the industrial plants where it is produced,” says Dr. Rouzbeh Shahsavari, president of C-Crete Technologies. “This means there would be no transportation or shipment required for the hydrogen, and that is really a double win. For example, utility companies can store their hydrogen byproduct — which would otherwise be vented out as waste — in our sorbent material, and then months later use it to generate electricity when the grid demands more.”

The new nanoengineered materials would be a significant improvement over existing technologies such as liquid hydrogen, hydrides, and salt caverns, which excel in one of three areas: capacity, kinetics, or thermodynamics but not all three. Hydrides, for example, have a relatively high hydrogen absorbing capacity but a sluggish release kinetics. In comparison to current possibilities, the new material would have high hydrogen uptake, quick kinetics, and be scalable and low cost.

Annual global hydrogen output is currently estimated to be around 110 million metric tons. For hydrogen to contribute to climate neutrality, it must be produced and stored on a much bigger scale, and its production must be completely decarbonized. While green hydrogen created from water electrolysis using renewable electricity may be the greatest approach to this objective, less than 1% of the world’s hydrogen supply is currently green.

“As an alternative to green hydrogen, byproducts of industrial processes can be excellent choices for energy storage,” says Negar Rajabi, the tech-to-market lead of C-Crete Technologies. “For example, steel manufacturing plants produce enormous amounts of hydrogen as a byproduct, which can be captured and used for energy storage and reuse. We plan to offer our solution as a modular storage system that can be modified for specific types of hydrogen streams in industrial processes, providing a fresh path to low-cost and efficient long-duration energy storage.”

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