Construction commences on hydrogen pilot plant


Construction is underway on a 1.5MWth pilot plant to test an innovative hydrogen production technology at Cranfield University.

On 13 April, Cranfield University announced that the HyPER project, which is an international collaboration it is leading with £7.4mn funding from the BEIS Energy Innovation Programme, will examine the potential for low carbon hydrogen as the key clean fuel of the future. Doosan Babcock and GTI are also involved, with the project centred on a hydrogen production technology invented by the latter.

GTI’s technology captures CO2 during the hydrogen production process, before shifting the chemical reactions to favour production of more hydrogen. The resulting outputs are high purity streams of hydrogen and carbon dioxide which can be stored, sold or transported to where they are needed. The pilot plant will aim to demonstrate key components of this process that can enable future scale-up and lead to commercially operating facilities.

It was highlighted how the process for the direction production of hydrogen from natural gas set to be used in the project is compact yet scalable to much larger plants. The high purity hydrogen it can potentially produce will typically be 25% lower in cost than conventional steam methane reforming methods requiring CO2 capture as an additional expensive process step. It cited the significant reduction in capital cost, compact size and higher efficiency without generating excess steam as key benefits of the technology.

The plant is set to be operational by the autumn.