Research

Lead:
Prof. Dr. Andreas Züttel
Contact:
EPFL
Laboratory of Materials for Renewable Energy
PH A2 354 (Bâtiment PH)
Station 3
CH-1015 Lausanne
Switzerland
phone :+41 21 6958 222
 

Hydrogen production from renewable energy and storage has a long tradition in Switzerland. With the growing amount of renewable energy, the demand for H2 production and storage increases. New and competitive conversion and storage systems on the scale of pilot and demonstrator units are developed to enable the transition from fossil to renewable energy. H2 production by electrolysis is an especially important issue since this is the first step in the conversion of electricity to synthetic fuels and realizes a closed material cycle for energy. Inexpensive and safe storage of hydrogen is also crucial in order to enable a hydrogen economy. The emerging technologies in the field including redox flow batteries, radically lower cost catalysts, and high energy density liquid storage routes are in focus. A high impact on industry is expected by focusing on these promising routes. Redox flow battery for hydrogen production is already established successfully on the laboratory scale (funded and patented by EOS Holding), and will be implemented as a largescale demonstrator at Martigny, in collaboration with Sinergy and CREM (both of Martigny, Vallais). The hydrogen produced will be co-mingled with biogas generated at the water treatment facility (STEP) in Martigny, and later will be used directly in the hydrogenation of CO2. The charged electrolyte produced in the battery may also be used at a later development for the direct reduction of CO2 or the co-generation of hydrogen and CO2 reduction products.

Hydrogen generation from formic acid, as a hydrogen/energy storage medium can be combined with PEM fuel cells and may be used in a wide range of applications, from stationary backup/uninterruptible power supply units, to small, mobile auxiliary power sources and in the transport. Coupled with carbon dioxide hydrogenation – the energy/ hydrogen storage – and – generation cycle can be envisioned, it could be applied to buffer peaks in electrical power supply and demand.
Partner: Granite SA, Orbe, Switzerland. Small, portable power supply unit development, based on rechargeable formic acid “cartridges”, generating electric energy in the range of 50–200 Wh (Partner: Tekion, Burnaby, Canada). Formic acid production only from hydrogen gas and carbon dioxide in acidic medium is carried out with EOS Holding, Lausanne, Switzerland.

Presentations/Publications


Hydrogen Storage in Hydrides
• A. Züttel, P. Mauron, S. Kato, E. Callini, M. Holzer, J. Huang, submitted to Chimia (2015).
• E. Callini, S. Kato, Ph. Mauron, A. Züttel, submitted to Chimia (2015).
• S. Kato, M. Ammann, T. Huthwelker, C. Paun, M. Lampimäki, M.-T. Lee, M. Rothensteiner, J.A. van Bokhoven, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 17, 5078 (2015)
• S. Kato, A. Züttel, et al, in preparation.