Green hydrogen is considered a key element in the development of an emission-free energy supply and is one of the essential cornerstones of a sustainable society.
The use of hydrogen and related technologies offers a wide range of possibilities – the potential of hydrogen as an energy carrier is enormous. Through the use of fuel cell drives in the field of mobility and the use of hydrogen in industry, a significant contribution to the necessary CO2 savings can be realized.
At the same time, the handling of hydrogen from production, storage and transport to refueling or application demands a high technical standard. The basic precondition for successful technical handling is precise knowledge of the gas composition in each individual process step. The near-process and exact analysis of the gas quality is an important factor for success: in industrial applications as well as in the operation of fuel cell drives, for example in electromobility.
The newly built “Boltzmann” gas analysis laboratory of the HyCentA hydrogen research center at Graz University of Technology (TU Graz) addresses precisely these requirements and is a core element in the development of high-precision measurement methods for gas quality and mass. The new gas analysis laboratory as part of the center’s expansion complements the modern research infrastructure with test stands for electrolysis, fuel cell systems and high-pressure hydrogen systems up to 1000 bar. TU Graz has substantially supported the expansion of the entire HyCentA test facility by another 600 square meters to strengthen hydrogen research in Graz even further. At TU Graz and its research affiliates such as HyCentA, around 160 scientists are currently working on safe, climate-friendly hydrogen technologies.
The core elements of the laboratory are the high-precision analytical instruments: the Ion-Molecule Reaction-Mass Spectrometer (IMR-MS), which was specially developed in cooperation with the research partner V&F Analyse- und Messtechnik, and the Fourier-Transform Infrared Spectrometer (FTIR). The multi-purpose laboratory environment also offers workstations with a clean room atmosphere as well as vacuum equipment for the ultra-clean preparation of sampling systems.
The gas analysis laboratory is currently the basis for the development of calibration measurement technology for hydrogen mass and methods for measuring hydrogen quality. This mobile measurement technology will, for example, enable calibration at the fueling station in compliance with the highest normative regulations. The current lack of technology for this is one of the main reasons for the slow expansion of the H2 infrastructure and a frequent restraint in industrial hydrogen processing.
The gas analysis laboratory was set up at HyCentA as part of the cooperative research project “Upscaling of green hydrogen for mobility and industry” (UpHy I). UpHy I is a research project funded by the Climate and Energy Fund and carried out as part of the “Energy Model Region” WIVA P&G program. Emission-free mobility is thus moving a step closer again: the cooperative overall project includes the planning and implementation of the value chain for green hydrogen on an industrial scale: from production and distribution to its use in transport and industry. To this purpose, the development of green hydrogen production and distribution as well as the necessary calibration measurement technology is being advanced. By integrating the project contents into the hydrogen initiative WIVA P&G, the project contributes to positioning Austria as a model region in the field of hydrogen technologies and green gases and is in constant exchange with relevant actors and corporate partners. This generates a supra-regional transfer of know-how.
Project partners are OMV Refining & Marketing GmbH (consortium leader), HyCentA Research GmbH, VERBUND Energy4Business GmbH, V&F Analyse- und Messtechnik GmbH, Energieinstitut an der Johannes Kepler Universität Linz and Verein WIVA P&G – Wasserstoffinitiative Vorzeigeregion Austria Power & Gas.
Photo: Ceremonial opening of the laboratory (from left): Alexander Trattner (CEO HyCentA), Landesrätin Ursula Lackner, Rector Harald Kainz, Landesrätin Barbara Eibinger-Miedl, Michael-Dieter Ulbrich (OMV), Elvira Lutter (Climate and Energy Fund), Horst Steinmüller (WIVA P&G)