Highly efficient H2-release in LOHC reactors using planar catalyst modules

The Change of energy production to renewable sources leads to decentralized and time-varying provision of electrical energy. This requires the development of effective storage and transport technologies to handle surplus energy. Hydrogen can be produced with low emissions using renewable electricity, but is characterized by low volumetric energy densities. The handling of the explosive gas asks for high safety requirements, additionally. To overcome these limitations a number of chemical storage molecules are available.

Liquid organic hydrogen carriers (LOHC) like the molecule bezyltoluene are a promising option for safe, scalable and cost-effective storage of renewable hydrogen. By hydrogenating benzyltoluene hydrogen can be efficiently stored. As soon as additional electrical energy is required, the reverse dehydrogenation reaction releases hydrogen again:

Hydrogenation and dehydrogenation are strongly exo- or endothermic reactions that are catalyzed by precious metals. As a consequence, a high number of active precious metal centres increases the economic efficiency of the process drastically. In addition, reactors for efficient heat transport are required, which can handle a location-dependent ratio of gas and liquid volume. Therefore, the LOReley project focusses on the development of a novel reactor concept, which makes use of laser structured surfaces. This should enable the modification of a simple plate heat exchanger into a compact, lightweight and power-tight chemical reactor. The research interests and our competences lie in the conceptual design and the characterization of the novel reactor in the analytical investigation and optimization of the catalyst layers.

The joint project is funded by BMWi research funding of the Federal German Government, for a period of 36 months. Cooperations and associated partnerships with the research institutes Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute and Clausthal University of Technology, as well as the companies Hydrogenious LOHC Technologies GmbH, AMPHOS GmbH, MIOPAS GmbH and Kelvion PHE GmbH, are included.