Hydrogen Storage Using Iron Balls : New Technology by Students of Eindhoven  - India Renewable Energy Consulting – Solar, Biomass, Wind, Cleantech
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Hydrogen Storage Using Iron Balls : New Technology by Students of Eindhoven 

Here’s an article posted in The Next Web that talks about the role of iron balls in hydrogen storage.

According to the article,

Top management consulting experts for Bio-energy, EV, Solar, Green Hydrogen

  • Iron Balls for Hydrogen Storage: Students at Eindhoven University of Technology have developed a technology using small iron balls, or iron pellets, to safely store and transport hydrogen.
  • High Energy Density: Iron balls have a higher energy density compared to traditional hydrogen storage methods, allowing them to store up to three times more energy per volume than pressurized hydrogen.

The concept developed by the student team at Eindhoven University of Technology, known as SOLID, revolves around using iron pellets as carriers for hydrogen energy. This is achieved through a process called the steam-iron process, which involves the reaction of iron with hot steam under high pressure. Let’s break down the process and its implications:

  1. Steam-Iron Process: Iron pellets are exposed to a flow of hot steam under high pressure. In this process, iron reacts with water molecules in steam, producing hydrogen and iron oxide, commonly known as rust. The chemical equation representing this reaction is: 3𝐹𝑒 + 4𝐻2𝑂 → 4𝐻2 + 𝐹𝑒3𝑂43Fe + 4H2​O → 4H2 ​+ Fe3O4​. This reaction releases hydrogen gas (H₂) and forms iron oxide (Fe₃O₄), which is a solid.
  2. Hydrogen Extraction: The hydrogen produced during the reaction can be extracted and utilized as an energy source.
  3. Regeneration of Iron: After the hydrogen is extracted, the remaining iron oxide (rust) can be regenerated back to iron by adding hydrogen to it. This completes the circular cycle, where iron acts as a carrier for hydrogen.
  4. Benefits:
    • Higher Energy Density: Iron has a higher energy density compared to pressurized hydrogen, allowing it to store approximately three times more energy per volume.
    • Safer Storage and Transport: Iron pellets can be stored and transported in a safer and more compact manner compared to pressurized hydrogen, reducing logistical challenges.
    • Abundance: Iron is one of the most abundant elements on Earth, making this technology potentially cheaper for large-scale storage and distribution of hydrogen.
  5. Test Installation – SIR One: The student team has built a test installation called the Steam Iron Reactor One (SIR One) to explore and showcase the potential of the technology.
  6. Future Plans – SIR Two and Demo in Rotterdam: The team plans to improve the efficiency of the process and extend the lifespan of the iron pellets. They also aim to scale up the current system to SIR Two, which will have a larger capacity. Ultimately, their goal is to demonstrate the technology on an industrial scale in the port of Rotterdam by 2027.

In summary, the steam-iron process developed by SOLID utilizes iron pellets as carriers for hydrogen energy, offering benefits such as higher energy density, safer storage, and the potential for cheaper large-scale storage and distribution of hydrogen.

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Interestingly, we have some other posts related to this content:“New Hydrogen Storage Technology By CSIRO & Electrochemical Technologies Group” – This post discusses a hydrogen storage technology developed by the CSIRO Thermal and Electrochemical Technologies Group that aims to reduce the cost of hydrogen storage and delivery. “Green Hydrogen Storage for Buildings with HPS Technology” – This post highlights Home Power Solutions’ patented HPS technology, which is the world’s first green hydrogen-based, year-round electricity storage system for buildings available on the market.

About Narasimhan Santhanam (Narsi)

Narsi, a Director at EAI, Co-founded one of India's first climate tech consulting firm in 2008.

Since then, he has assisted over 250 Indian and International firms, across many climate tech domain Solar, Bio-energy, Green hydrogen, E-Mobility, Green Chemicals.

Narsi works closely with senior and top management corporates and helps then devise strategy and go-to-market plans to benefit from the fast growing Indian Climate tech market.


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