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Green hydrogen in practice: smart advice for the optimum solution

May 2024

Green hydrogen is crucial for the shift to climate-neutral industry. With use of hydrogen as an energy source still in its infancy, however, companies face numerous questions. ProMinent will be providing answers to these and more at ACHEMA, the leading trade fair for the process industries, taking place from 10 to 14 June 2024 in Frankfurt am Main.

ProMinent at ACHEMA 2024

Green hydrogen in practice: smart advice for the optimum solution

Green hydrogen is crucial for the shift to climate-neutral industry. With use of hydrogen as an energy source still in its infancy, however, companies face numerous questions. ProMinent will be providing answers to these and more at ACHEMA, the leading trade fair for the process industries, taking place from 10 to 14 June 2024 in Frankfurt am Main.

Hydrogen: cutting-edge technology with potential

Coal, gas and other fossil fuels are harmful to the climate and must be replaced. Hydrogen – specifically green hydrogen – is the climate-neutral energy source of the future. It can serve as a raw material for industrial processes, as an energy store and as a fuel. The German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action expects a total hydrogen demand of 95 to 130 terawatt hours (TWh) in 2030. The potential is huge.

Green hydrogen is therefore an important topic for energy producers and the gas industry alike. However, working with a new technology raises technical questions, and companies may need support in finding the answers. An experienced partner with solid expertise and smart advice can help them discover the optimum solution for their specific needs – a partner like ProMinent.

The long road to green hydrogen

Let’s first take a look at the technology behind this. Where and how is green hydrogen produced? What are the challenges?

To produce hydrogen, water (H2O) is split into oxygen (O2) and hydrogen (H2) by electrolysis. This process requires large amounts of electricity. This power must come from carbon-neutral energy sources for the resulting hydrogen to be labelled “green”. In Europe, we do not have enough sun and wind to generate green electricity in sufficient quantities. That is why the majority of our green hydrogen – the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy assumes 50 to 70 percent – will come from countries with plenty of sun and wind, mostly outside Europe.

This means that the hydrogen will have to be transported to Europe, and that can only be done by sea. For transport by ship, however, the gaseous hydrogen has to be cooled down to −252 °C for liquefaction – a hugely energy-intensive and expensive process. It is therefore converted into ammonia (NH3) for transport: in addition to being less dangerous and already liquid at –33 °C, ammonia contains about 1.7 times more hydrogen per cubic metre than liquid hydrogen. Packaged in ammonia, the same amount of hydrogen can therefore be transported using considerably less energy.

At its destination, the hydrogen is recovered by “cracking”: ammonia is broken down into hydrogen and nitrogen (N2) at around 900 °C, the released nitrogen is collected and the hydrogen is purified if necessary. Cracking also requires a lot of energy but, all things considered, green hydrogen with ammonia as a carrier has a favourable carbon footprint over long transport distances.

The first cracking plants for green hydrogen are already in operation in Europe. Another will follow in 2024 – with ProMinent technology and expertise because the customer recognises the advantages of ProMinent’s complete package of technology, consulting and solutions.

Ammonia cracking under harsh operating conditions

The ProMinent pumps in the new cracking plant will meter the ammonia to be broken down as well as demineralised water. In the planning discussions with the customer, we worked out the following technical requirements for the pumps:

  • Ammonia: 300 to 3000 litres/h at a pressure of 40 bar so that the ammonia remains liquid
  • Demineralised water: 60 to 600 litres/h at a pressure of 35 bar
  • Design temperature: –35 °C to +85 °C
  • Outdoor use
  • All pumps and components must fulfil ATEX explosion protection requirements
  • It must be possible to safely remove leaked ammonia in the event of a diaphragm rupture

The pumps required for ammonia cracking therefore have to work under harsh conditions – green energy production is not a gentle process either.

Robust, powerful and precise – ORLITA Evolution

The ProMinent project team thoroughly analysed these requirements to develop the best solution. The clear winner was our ORLITA Evolution 4 hydraulic diaphragm metering pump : the performance spectrum of this series is ideal for the harsh conditions and perfectly fulfils the requirements for the planned cracking plant.

On this basis, we developed a solution with pump skids for our customer, the main features of which are:

  • 1 ORLITA Evolution 4 (simplex = 1 dosing head)
  • 1 ORLITA Evolution 4 (triplex = 3 dosing heads)
    • ­ 3 dosing heads for low-pulsation operation, therefore smaller pulsation damper required
  • Robust PTFE diaphragm for a long service life
  • Reliable metering with a very high dosing precision of better than ±1 %
  • Line to the diaphragm rupture sensor with combined shut-off and vent valve so that any leaked ammonia can be safely removed
  • Replacement pump to minimise any interruptions to operation (e.g. during maintenance or in the event of malfunctions)

Skids are a practical plug-and-play solution: with the pump system already mounted on the skid frame ready for use, installation at the factory can be completed quickly. The skids immediately fit seamlessly into the processes of the new system.

Our customer can rely on the ProMinent solution to function safely and dependably under extreme conditions thanks to ProMinent’s complete package.

A ProMinent solution offers more than just good technology

ProMinent offers a complete package that goes beyond good technology. Naturally, we supply pumps that meter precisely and perform reliably for a long time. But above all, we deliver solutions:

  • Holistic project planning: our sophisticated solutions fit perfectly into their technical environment. To ensure this, our sales team analyses your specifications in context and not simply the pump system by itself. For example, we make sure that all connections are right for your site.
  • Joint effort to achieve the optimum: with our suggestions, you can further improve the originally planned system, e.g. lower the maintenance requirements or boost efficiency.
  • You can be sure of legally compliant operation, as we keep an eye on the legal guidelines for you.
  • We remain in dialogue with you, because good communication is crucial for a successful project.
  • Nearby worldwide: we’re at home in around 100 countries, so our expertise is close to you everywhere.

Our dedicated advice is particularly valuable for companies without in-house engineering expertise. But working with ProMinent gives all companies peace of mind, because they know they are getting a smart solution that ensures efficient and reliable operation.

The customer planning the ammonia cracking plant has experienced this first hand: ProMinent’s expertise in metering and pump technology has been particularly welcome in this pilot project. Our helpful, in-depth advice during the offer phase was just what the customer needed. In fact, in addition to our unbeatable delivery time of 21 weeks, this was ultimately what led to placement of the order.

A secure, green future with ProMinent

Conclusion: green hydrogen is essential for a climate-neutral future. However, the technology involved is still new and many companies do not yet have any insights of their own from previous projects to draw on. Our experience gives you peace of mind so that you can make the leap to a green future in partnership with ProMinent. Whether you operate in the energy supply or gas industry or want to use hydrogen directly – contact us and let’s discuss your project: together we will develop the most advantageous solution for your company. Our product colours may be orange and blue, but we can do green too!

Visit us from 10 to 14 June at the ACHEMA in Frankfurt! You will find us in hall 8 at stand J 94 and in hall 11 at stand E 27!

ACHEMA 2024

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