Automation Solutions Across Hydrogen Value Chain

by , | Aug 18, 2022 | Energy & Emissions, Sustainability

Jim Cahill

Chief Blogger, Social Marketing Leader

Hydrogen (H2) MoleculesThere continues to be much focus on the idea of growing hydrogen as an energy carrier and increasing its role in the global energy mix. Much work is being done across the hydrogen value chain from production through distribution to end consumers.

In a Smart Industry article, Methods to implement hydrogen across the value chain, Emerson’s Loic Charbonneau shares solutions in hydrogen production, transportation and storage, distribution, and consumption.

Loic opens by sharing its growth over the past decade. Its:

…demand has increased 28% as more industries realize its potential as an energy source alternative to fossil fuels, particularly in industries that are difficult to decarbonize, as well as a wide range of applications across the entire value chain.

Automation can play an important role in hydrogen production.

As demand for hydrogen grows, the industry will need to accelerate and scale production and distribution. Whether using electrolyzers or steam-methane reformers with carbon capture, companies will depend on advanced automation technologies combined with enhanced processes and powerful data analytics. The right technologies can help improve productivity, reduce variability, decrease energy usage, lower emissions and validate the sustainability of operations.

Global automation design based on smart devices, IoT, distributed-control systems, data analytics, digital twins and advanced engineering tools enable plants to design one facility and easily scale, accelerate the learning curve, improve operational efficiency, benefit from preventive maintenance and optimize asset-lifecycle costs.

Loic shares several specific examples of how Emerson is working with some of its customers to use automation to help drive successful projects. Here is one example.

PosHYdon produces hydrogen offshore of the Netherlands, generating renewable fuels by harnessing green electricity from offshore wind turbines to power the production process. The process converts sea water into demineralized water, then safely produces hydrogen via electrolysis. The hydrogen is then blended with natural gas, transported to the coast and fed into the national-gas grid.

The project is using Emerson’s DeltaV distributed control system technology to control the desalination and electrolyzer units, gas-blending and balance of plant equipment, while providing enhanced safety, process uptime and operational efficiency.

He highlights the challenges in hydrogen transportation and storage around possible leaks and safe handling. To address these challenges, there are:

…manageable safety risks of overpressure and leak concerns from high-vibration, high-pressure conditions. Emerson’s anti-surge valves, vibration detectors and pressure regulators help improve reliability and prevent fugitive emissions.

Read the article for more on each of these areas of the hydrogen value chain and how automation can address the challenges faced, and some specific examples.

Some specific hydrogen-related presentations at the Oct 24-28 Emerson Exchange conference in Grapevine, Texas will include Decarbonizing Industrial Equipment Through Hydrogen High Pressure Solutions and Infrastructure to Build Upon: Natural Gas and its Role in the Hydrogen Revolution. Register by August 31 to save $500 on the conference fee.

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The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the authors. Content published here is not read or approved by Emerson before it is posted and does not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Emerson.