With the increasing pressures for clean and green fuel and the soaring pollution levels, the hydrogen generation market is forecasted to grow and expand even more than in the previous years.
Roughly 10 million metric tons (MMT) of hydrogen are presently being generated in the United States every year with a hydrogen generation market estimated at USD 120.77 billion in 2020. This developing market is projected to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.7% from 2021 to 2028.
Even if hydrogen is mainly used for petroleum refining and ammonia production, it can still be utilised throughout various other areas to facilitate zero or near-zero emissions. Hydrogen is also a well-known solution to facilitate the decarbonisation of the energy systems and could play a significant part in providing low carbon heating for houses, buildings and industrial processes. Growing use and versatility of the product in numerous fields is expected to be the key pillar for the industry on a global level.
In the meantime, if you want to find out more about the benefits of hydrogen as a source of green, clean energy click here to read one of my previous articles.
Because this topic is an exciting window into the future, I have decided to highlight five of the most exciting small start-ups with innovative ideas and different approaches to producing and using hydrogen.
Wildfire Energy is a start-up that transforms waste into hydrogen. It utilises organic and residual waste along with combustion automation to generate renewable energy. The technology system will allow Wildfire Energy to convert waste such as commercial & industrial waste, municipal solid waste, mixed plastics, agricultural & forestry waste and urban biomas.
The first step of the process involves mixing and igniting waste and oxidants in MHIG reactors. Then, an air injection point is gradually retracted to gasify the fuel. The raw syngas is then cleaned and the by-products are recycled to MIHG reactor. After the cleaning process is done, the cleaned syngas is then converted to power. The MIHG technology can be utilised to produce low-cost hydrogen with minimal emissions and is projected to attain one of the lowest costs of hydrogen production.
The MIHG method provides negative net greenhouse gas emissions when treating general wastes that were originally intended for landfill. The MIHG method also generates renewable energy products and lowers the amount of landfill waste. Moreover, the process can be combined with material retrieval services to enhance waste recycling.
Another start-up working in hydrogen, H2GO Power, offers zero-emission solid-state hydrogen storage and hydrogen AI solutions. Its patent-pending reactor operates by storing hydrogen in solid-state with the release of hydrogen on-demand. This has a patented design and has been produced and verified to run between 1-10 Bar and below 100oC and to meet existing pressure vessel requirements.
The company own an IP portfolio of pioneering H2 energy storage technologies which allows them to work across various applications within the power and energy market. Moreover, its product generates over 100 megatons of CO2 savings per year and generates 100 times less pressure than the usual high-pressure H2 storage systems. Its PnP units are created to take in renewable energy and store it as hydrogen for prolonged periods of time. The power can then be released on demand with zero emissions. They have also patented AI systems that deliver cost-efficient management.
Unlike the other start-ups mentioned in this article, the core technology behind UniSieve’s product enables the creation of mechanically flexible molecular sieving membranes. This distinctive technology facilitates the segregation of compounds and chemicals on a molecular degree and it is centred on a size exclusion process. UniSieve membranes are mechanically stable, flexible and can be incorporated into typical membrane cartridges.
This concept has many useful applications such as separation of hydrocarbons and other process gasses, biogas upgrading, separation of hydrogen, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen, oxygen, noble gasses and liquid-liquid separation.
Another exciting start-up to follow, C-Zero, transforms natural gas into hydrogen and solid carbon. The hydrogen delivers clean and low-cost energy whilst the carbon can be perpetually isolated. When renewable natural gas is utilised, the procedure is carbon negative. The process is a form of methane pyrolysis and it uses advanced thermocatalysis to remove the carbon from the natural gas and convert it to a dense solid. The start-up is creating a drop-in decarbonization system which can be positioned in between the existing natural gas infrastructure and industrial natural gas users aiming to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions.
C-Zero’s technology can be used to decarbonize a wide array of industries including electrical generation, process heating, production of commodity hydrogen for fuel cell vehicles, ammonia synthesis and refining processes.
Similar to Wildfire Energy, Qairos Energies is a start-up that generates, green methane and hydrogen from biomass. The company aims to generate energy based on the resources available in regional areas and the countryside. The energy produced is going to be utilised in the vicinity of the production unit corresponding to the principle of the circular economy. The start-up revealed that it would invest approximately $23 million (€18.8 million) into facilities that intend to transform hemp biomass into green methane and hydrogen. The electricity garnered is then planned to be used for regional transit organizations and natural gas components.
The process will be focused on gasification technology: heat and oxygen are applied to hemp biomass which will result in gaseous substances. The objective is for Qairos to create two tons of hydrogen and 200 cubic meters of methane on average, per day. The start-up aspires to contribute to the energy autonomy of France and aims to reduce France’s dependence on countries producing fossil fuel whilst aiding the countryside.
There is no doubt that start-ups in hydrogen have a bright future ahead. The world is in need of green and renewable energy more than ever and that is why hydrogen is such a crucial piece in the puzzle. Moreover, the allocation of hydrogen to industrial consumers is now a key worldwide industry as the requirement for hydrogen, which has grown more than three times since 1975, keeps increasing.
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