Hydrogen technology

Power-to-X – New sustainable technologies to couple with renewable energy production

Andreas Pischke - 13 September 2021

Power-to-X seems to be a new buzz word. It refers to hydrogen technology to store or convert surplus electricity, generated preferably from renewable energy sources. It also means the conversion of electric energy via hydrogen to hydrogen-based synthetic fuels and feedstock.

About the author

Mr Andreas Pischke
Andreas Pischke is Global Industry Manager Power and Water at Neles. Mr. Pischke has a B.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Cologne.
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The process to produce hydrogen requires huge amounts of energy, and traditional production methods using fossil fuels emit a lot of CO2.

The production of blue and green hydrogen, however, doesn’t release carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. CO2 does occur in the production of blue H2, but the production of green hydrogen is completely emission-free. Blue hydrogen is produced through the traditional process (SMR), and the carbon dioxide removed is either used in other processes or stored for the long-term. Green hydrogen production uses renewable energy, such as wind, hydro, or solar power.

Green hydrogen is a great carrier of renewable energy include wind, hydro, and solar power and it also facilitates the production of green hydrocarbons and chemicals, such as eMethane or eMethanol. Burning green hydrocarbons emits greenhouse gases, but those are taken from the atmosphere during production, so the carbon emission balance is neutralized.

Using hydrogen to power our mobility also keeps the air clean. The biggest positive effect will be in high-density population clusters, such as big cities. To sum it up, the new methods are an important element in meeting the targets of the Paris climate agreement.

What role do valves play in all of this? The feedstocks, products, and byproducts of Power-to-X technologies are mainly gaseous, but also liquids and steam need to be handled. Heat transfer fluids may also need to be efficiently handled. Valves are needed to control the processes and to make them safe.

The production and utilization of hydrogen requires accurate and reliable flow control. Based on extensive experience in the flow control of critical media like O2 and H2, Neles valves can make production operations not only safer, but also more efficient. Our proven control valve packages, including a control valve, an actuator, and a smart positioner, perfectly aligned together, will increase process efficiency.

Valves are also involved in the transport of hydrogen. There are various methods. Whether transporting hydrogen by using ammonia or liquid organic compounds as a carrier, Neles offers a wide range of valves for both. For example, our valves have been operating in many ammonia plants all around the world for decades. For the chemical industry, where the flow control of organic compounds is common, Neles provides suitable valve solutions for the new LOHC-technology (see Valve World issue August 2020).

To conclude, the only way to eliminate fossil carbon emissions globally is with serious government investments in green industry development projects. Hydrogen plants and Power-to-X technologies will have an essential role in industry decarbonization. As a reliable partner, Neles will take this momentum and help advance the power industry towards its goal of being carbon-free by 2050. We are building upon our long experience in flow control to further develop and implement the new technologies to make them safe, efficient, and affordable for our customers around the world. The next step towards a more sustainable future is Power-to-X.

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