Process and Plant Engineering for Chemical Hydrogen Storage


Prof. Dr.-Ing. Andreas Peschel

The scientific work is conducted at the institute for sustainable hydrogen economy (INW) at Forschungszentrum Jülich. The area "Process and Plant Engineering" of INW covers the development of processes and plants for the production and use of chemical hydrogen carriers such as ammonia, alcohols and ethers (e.g. methanol and dimethyl ether) as well as liquid organic hydrogen carriers (LOHC).

Depending on the application, the system under consideration can be a storage system (combination of hydrogen production, for example by means of electrolysis, hydrogen conditioning and hydrogenation reaction) or a hydrogen supply system (combination of dehydrogenation, hydrogen purification, compression and utilization). In both cases, the overall system is optimized in terms of economic and technical constraints with the aim of achieving the most efficient processes possible as well as minimum hydrogen supply costs. This optimization includes not only stationary processes, but also dynamic boundary conditions and the mode of operation.

For the success of chemical hydrogen storage systems, integration with the hydrogen consumer in an overall system and dynamic system considerations are particularly important. This can be easily illustrated by the example of heat utilization and heat integration: While some steps in the system generate heat (hydrogenation, compression, conversion to electricity), other steps in the system consume it (dehydrogenation, purification, conditioning). Optimal heat integration, however, requires not only apparatuses for efficient heat transfer, but also an overall system optimization in terms of location and time, as well as integration with multiple processes and process streams, since otherwise heat release and consumption will not occur at the same time or place, nor at the correct temperature levels. This is the only way to optimally couple heat generation and heat consumption and maximize system efficiency.

This also requires new approaches in the areas of process analysis, process design, control engineering and automation technology. In these areas, optimization-based approaches for the analysis, design and optimal operation of the systems are being developed and tested at INW-4. Likewise, approaches to electrification and heat storage are being integrated into the processes.

These new approaches for process synthesis are accompanied at INW-4 by experimental testing of the technologies and processes in laboratory plants, miniplants and pilot plants with the aim of putting the new technologies into practice.

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