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HyCARE – Hydrogen CArrier for Renewable Energy Storage Starts in Italy

By February 24, 2019 3   min read  (598 words)

February 24, 2019 |

Hydrogen Italy Project

The HyCARE project starts: Consortium includes University of Turin, Environment Park, Bruno Kessler Foundation and the Tecnodelta company 

HyCARERenewable energies, such as photovoltaic and wind power, are characterized by intermittent production. There is not always wind and the sun is not there at night. But the demand for electricity is concentrated in some hours of the day, which do not always correspond to the moments in which it is produced. For this reason, the problem of energy storage needs to be solved for the development of renewable energy . Among the many solutions proposed, for some time the use of hydrogen as an energy vector has been studied. Compared to batteries, hydrogen allows to store large amounts of energy in a small space. The route is tortuous, but it has a low environmental impact. The energy produced is sent to an electrolyzer, which splits the water into hydrogen and oxygen. The produced hydrogen is stored, then converted back into electrical energy by means of a fuel cell. The only ingredient is water.

The storage of hydrogen remains an open problem, and this is what the HyCARE project wants to answer , which takes place in these days at the Department of Chemistry of the University of Turin . In fact, hydrogen is a gas that must be contained in high pressure cylinders, with high compression costs and with the use of large spaces. Alternatively, hydrogen can be absorbed into a metal powder under much milder conditions, ie at temperatures and pressures close to the environment. This solution reduces the volume required for storing even large quantities of hydrogen. It is precisely this solution that has convinced the European Community to finance about 2 million eurosthe HyCARE project, through the ” Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking” Platform – FCH JU.

The project involves the production of almost 5 tons of metal powder, which will be placed in special containers. The thermal management of the plant will take place through an innovative approach, making use of phase change materials, greatly increasing the efficiency of the process. The amount of hydrogen stored will be 50 kg, which will represent the highest quantity ever stored in Europe with this technique.

The consortium is led by the University of Turin , together with the Environment Park , and sees the presence of a large metal powder production company ( GKN Sintermetal ) and the French energy multinational Engie , which will make its laboratories available to Paris for the demonstrator plant. The plant will be built by two small-medium companies, one German ( Sthüff ) and one Italian ( Tecnodelta ). The research team, with the Bruno Kessler Foundation  of Trento, the French CNRS , the Helmholtz Zentrum of Geesthacht in Germany and theNorwegian Energy Institute of Kjeller.

“It is a great challenge for us” – says prof. Marcello Baricco , of the University of Turin and project coordinator – “which will allow us to demonstrate in a real application the use of hydrogen as an energy vector. It will be an opportunity to put into practice what we have been studying on a theoretical level for many years “. L ‘ ing. Carlo Luetto , managing director of the Chodasso Tecnodelta company, says: “For a small-medium company like ours, the HyCARE project represents a wonderful opportunity to enhance the hydrogen technologies we are developing, also in collaboration with other companies of the Piedmontese territory “. The dr. Davide Canavesio, managing director of the Environmental Park of Turin, declares that “our presence in the HyCARE project will make available our laboratory of Advanced Energy, leader in Italy for the development of technologies based on hydrogen and fuel cells”.

Source: Italian Association for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell

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