Hydrogen compression technology boosts sustainable mobility

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Framatome installs Hiperbaric hydrogen compressor with Rockwell Automation technology at hydrogen plant in Germany.

Oil, coal and gas have been the driving forces that, for several centuries, have allowed the world to advance and improve the socio-economic conditions of the population. On the other hand, the burning of fossil fuels has also led to an increase of CO2 in the atmosphere, with all the negative consequences this represents for our planet, starting with climate change.

In this context, a new alternative is now emerging that can help decarbonize the economy: green hydrogen. In addition to being the most abundant chemical element in nature, the main advantage of hydrogen is that its combustion does not emit CO2 but only water vapor. If it is also produced by electrolysis of water (breaking down the water molecule by applying an electric current), unlike the most widespread method (methane reforming), CO2 is not emitted during this process either.

The Bielefeld hydrogen plant

For this reason, more and more companies are betting on the benefits provided by this clean and renewable energy. One of them is Framatome, a leading European multinational in the nuclear sector for more than sixty years, with subsidiaries in twenty-three countries, more than 15,000 employees and a turnover of more than 3.3 billion euros. It is also a company strongly committed to the development of technology, innovation, R&D and the decarbonization of the economy.

The company has been developing technology and projects in the fields of renewable hydrogen, energy storage and Smart Grid for more than a decade. During that time Framatome has designed, developed, integrated and commissioned facilities for the production, storage and supply of renewable hydrogen, especially HRS for the mobility sector.

Precisely in the latter field, the company has launched a green hydrogen refueling station for sustainable buses in the German city of Bielefeld.

Hydrogen compressor

This hydrogen plant could not work without the KS95 hydrogen compressor supplied by the Spanish company Hiperbaric, the first of its kind to be installed in the international market with 100% Spanish technology. This company from Burgos, which started in the high pressure water business, has diversified its offer to also provide hydrogen-related solutions. “There are very few companies worldwide focused on high-pressure hydrogen compression, which is today one of the challenges for the success of hydrogen as an energy vector, and to decrease dependence on fossil fuels and natural gas,” explains Alejandro Blanco, commercial director of Hiperbaric.

Rockwell technology comes into play

This hydrogen compressor implements different components from Rockwell Automation, whose technology has been used by Hiperbaric in its pressurized water machines for several years. In this project, in particular, they have opted for a complete control system solution from Rockwell Automation with additional safety capabilities, which is essential in a hydrogen compressor, because it is a very unstable gas. All this has also allowed them to give an agile and immediate response to Framatome, which was interested in putting the installation into operation as soon as possible.

In short, the Bielefeld hydrogen plant project has been a definitive milestone in Framatome’s renewable hydrogen roadmap. “This is the first project we have undertaken in the field of hydrogen in turnkey EPC format, assuming the responsibility and performing the functions of main contractor…, and it has been successfully achieved”, concludes Vicente Soler, Green Hydrogen and Energy Storage manager of Framatome in Spain.

Nedim Husomanovic

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