H2-Heat: Thermal energy transport for heating and cooling with innovative hydrogen(H2) technologies

Lead Research Organisation: London South Bank University

Abstract

In the UK, heat accounts for over a third of the nation's greenhouse gas emissions. Most of the heating and cooling in our industries and buildings are delivered directly or indirectly by fossil fuels. Apart from the greenhouse emissions, the extensive consumption of fossil fuels can also lead to a large depletion of energy resources, waste heat production and pollution to the surrounding environment. To meet the target of Net Zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, there is an urgent need for decarbonising heating and cooling by utilising renewable energy and industrial waste heat with advanced technologies. Compared to renewable energy such as solar, the resources from industrial waste heat have clear advantages including greater stabilisation, less cost and larger temperature ranges. Therefore, industrial waste heat recovery for decarbonised heating and cooling is an attractive concept that could simultaneously reduce fossil fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. Evidently, in the UK, based on a recent report, it was identified that around 48 TWh/yr industrial waste heat sources were available of which about 28 TWh/yr could be potentially used to meet the heating and cooling demands. All heat-intensive industrial sectors including iron & steel, refineries, ceramics, glass, cement, chemicals, food and drink, paper and pulp can contribute to this potential. Even so, high efficient energy conversion systems need to be designed and applied so as to maximize the waste heat utilisations for heating and cooling. On the other hand, the locations of industrial waste heat providers such as steel plants are mostly far away from the utilisers for heating and cooling. Conventionally, hot water heated by the industrial waste heat is transported through long distance water pipe to the end user site which can cause huge pump power consumption and heat losses due to significant friction pressure drop for the water flow and large temperature difference between water flow and ambient. There are therefore challenges to the long-distance waste heat transport and high-efficient and innovative energy conversion technologies for the decarbonising heating and cooling.

To address these challenges, in this proposal, strategies for a novel concept of decarbonising district heating and cooling system (H2-heat) will be developed with the integration of metal hydride (MH) heat pump on site, long distance hydrogen and heat transport, and MH heating and cooling for end users. In such a system, low grade heat (~210C) and extra low grade heat (~40C) from TATA Steel plant or a similar industry site will be used as heat sources while building heating and cooling spaces are applied as heat sink and low temperature heat source respectively at end user side. Technologies of MH heat pump, a thermal driven chemical compressor with MH, long distance hydrogen and heat transport, MH space heating and cooling, MH alloys and reactors applied in the systems and processes, controls for space heating and cooling etc. will be identified and investigated. Ultimately, a decarbonising district heating and cooling test system with industrial waste heat from TATA Steel plant or other industrial sites will be constructed in lab with 5 kWth heating or cooling capacity and high heat transport efficiency. Furthermore, a detailed mathematical model will be developed and validated for the established system; this can be used for a system scale-up into actual application in TATA Steel plant or other industrial sites where low grade waste heat is available. As yet, no research activity on such a system can be found either nationally or internationally. Important reasons include the difficulty in choosing a thermal driven long distance hydrogen and heat transport system and associated MH alloys for space heating and cooling and complicated designs of MH reactors in the H2-heat system. These challenges and issues will be addressed and solved by this proposed project.

Planned Impact

The impact of the research will be widespread and varied. It is highly relevant to many sectors including: (i) Industry - The success of this project will directly contribute the performance evaluations and improvements of developing technologies such as low grade waste heat recovery with metal hydride (MH) heat pump, thermal driven hydrogen chemical compressor, hydrogen and heat long distance transport, metal hydride heating and cooling circuits, as well as the application and control of the district heating and cooling system. It will have long-term influence on the industry by enabling high efficiency waste heat recovery and district heating and cooling operations. ii) End-users- UK domestic buildings particularly in the areas which are not quite far away from the industrial sites. This proposal will also benefit other end-user types such as schools, out-of-town retail, leisure developments, district heating networks and other commercial buildings where heating/cooling is demanded. Since the project will establish long distance H2 and heat transport, it can also benefit to the users of hydrogen such as hydrogen automotive filling stations, hydrogen heating networks , future hydrogen grid and industrial processes where hydrogen is needed. iii) Academics: This proposal, using an advanced long distance H2 and heat transport with industrial waste heat for district heating and cooling, is a novel research and development area. It has combined challenges in terms of thermal driven MH compressors, long distance H2 and heat transport, MH heat pump with low grade industrial waste heat and MH reactors operating at high temperatures and pressures, MH reactors for heating and cooling and advanced control technologies. As a result, the exploration and understanding of fundamental physical processes and mechanisms resulting from this project will benefit a wide range of academics interested in these areas. iv) Government: Reducing heating and cooling demand and carbon emission from buildings by using industrial waste heat is essential to the UK government's target to reduce the UK CO2 emissions by 80% of 1990 levels by 2050 . The proposed programme will support and enhance the achievements of these targets. Furthermore, the use of a long distance H2 and heat transport will lead to higher efficiency and, therefore, improved cost-effectiveness and increased reduction in CO2 emissions. The growth and diversification of different scale businesses from industrial waste heat for the production of district heating and cooling will help to engender greater fuel independence for the UK. It will also contribute significantly to the government's future scheme of fuel switch with hydrogen.

The industrial, end users' and government impact will be achieved through direct industrial interaction and knowledge transfer. The industrial partners in this project are the potential manufacturers and users of the proposed technology. Residential houses in district heating networks in both rural and urban areas are our potential users of the proposed system and technology. Our outcomes will also be disseminated through various knowledge transfer networks as well as application-oriented magazines to maximize impact. The academic impact will be achieved via article publications and conferences/seminars events. We will keep publishing our findings in a timely manner in top peer-reviewed journals and conferences. We will also report our outcomes to other relevant programmes such as Sustainable Environment Research Centre's (SERC) and Sustainable Energy Use in Food Chains' (CSEF) programmes to attract attention in this new area, with the ultimate goal of establishing a society for industrial waste heat -fuelled district heating and cooling research. In addition we will be involved in two new developed master programs related to Renewable Energy at both University of South Wales and Brunel University.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description 1) A transient metal hydride heat pump system with medium-temperature heat recovery has been developed. The model has been used for optimisations of system and control designs.
2) The applicable metal hydride alloys for the heat pump and hydrogen transport have been identified based on a purposely developed model. The metal hydride alloys will be charged in the test rig to be developed.
3) A model for the characterizations of metal hydride alloys has been developed which can be used as an efficient tool for the development of metal hydride energy systems.
4) Two metal hydride reactors have been designed and manufactured
5) A test rig of metal hydride heat pump and hydrogen transport has been purposely designed and fabricated. Extensive experimental investigation on the test rig will be carried out at the conditions of different system designs and operating conditions.
6) A hydrogen lab has been developed which will be used to allocate the developed test rig.
Exploitation Route 1) the developed models of metal hydride heat pump systems, characterisations of metal hydride alloys, and methods for metal hydride selections will be disseminated in publications and conferences and used by others.
2) The designs of metal hydride reactors can be used by others
3) the test results from the experimental investigations can be used by others.
4) the designed test system can be scaled up for actual applications.
Sectors Construction,Creative Economy,Energy,Environment,Transport

 
Description 1) the developed technology can be used in waste heat recovery from industries where low-grade waste heat sources are applicable. 2) the developed technology can be used for high-efficient long constant hydrogen and heat transport and distribution. 3) the delivered hydrogen from the remote industrial sites can be used for decarbonized heating, cooling and electricity. 4) the developed metal hydride reactors can be used by UK's manufacturers for further product development. 5) the developed technology can also be used for other applications such as hydrogen storage, hydrogen compression and hydrogen heating and cooling.
First Year Of Impact 2023
Sector Construction,Creative Economy,Energy,Environment,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Transport
Impact Types Cultural,Societal,Economic,Policy & public services

 
Description Impact on the waste heat recovery and hydrogen transport project
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact Developing an industrial waste heat fuelled and H2-based district heating and cooling system with advanced hydrogen and heat transport (H2-Heat) can make substantial contributions toward both national and international efforts to save energy resources and reduce energy costs and CO2 emissions. In addition to technical challenges, the manufacturing capability of the UK energy sector is relatively weak, especially in high-efficiency district heating and cooling technology. The project will therefore improve the capability and competiveness of UK manufacturing within the energy sector by increasing technical knowledge and stimulating manufacturing capabilities. This will enhance the share of the expanding local and export markets for district heating and cooling components and systems. It will also provide training and employment opportunities in the UK energy and manufacturing sectors.
 
Description LSBU PhD Studentships 22/23
Amount £58,064 (GBP)
Organisation London South Bank University 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 08/2023 
End 08/2026
 
Description Quality Related funding (QR)
Amount £1,000 (GBP)
Organisation London South Bank University 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2021 
End 07/2022
 
Description Research Capital Investment Funds (RCIF)
Amount £20,000 (GBP)
Organisation London South Bank University 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2022 
End 04/2023
 
Title Design and modelling of waste heat recovery and transport systems with advanced hydrogen technologies 
Description The main aim of the project is to investigate and develop to proof of concept stage an innovative highly efficient heat recovery, heat transport, and end-use heating and cooling system using hydrogen in a closed system, with waste heat providing the thermal pumping for the transport of hydrogen in the closed circuit. The system can be used for district heating and cooling using waste heat from industrial processes or distributed power generation systems. To achieve these objectives, a test rig of the proposed system will be purposely developed and investigated at different design and operating conditions. In the meantime, a dynamic system model will be developed to evaluate and optimize the system designs and operation and eventually system scale-up for future actual applications. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2021 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The experience of the proposed system design can be applied to the different projects related to this area. In addition, the developed system model can be used as an efficient tool to evaluate, optimize, and practical system scale-up for the new systems to be developed in the near future. The selected metal hydride alloys for both metal hydride heat pumps and hydrogen transport are significant for future development in these areas. 
 
Title Mathematical model of metal hydride alloy selections and metal hydride heat pump 
Description A model of high-temperature metal hydride (MH) alloy selection and heat pump has been developed. A high-efficient MH alloy selection method has been developed and used for the MH alloy selection in this project. The method can also be used for the MH alloy selections for other applications. Meanwhile, the transient MH heat pump model has been developed to evaluate, compare and optimize the system design and operation. In addition, a Pressure Concentration and Temperature (PCT) model for the characterization of metal hydride alloys has been developed based on limited measurement data. The model can be used to predict PCT profiles of different metal hydride alloys. 
Type Of Material Computer model/algorithm 
Year Produced 2022 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The model of MH alloy selection in the application of high-temperature heat pumps has been developed and published in the journal of Energy Report. Although the method for the MH alloy selection was used for high-temperature MH heat pumps, the same method can also be applied in other applications such as low-temperature MH refrigeration and hydrogen storage etc. In addition, two papers on the Pressure Concentration and Temperature (PCT) model for the characterization of metal hydride alloys and the transient metal hydride heat pump model have been submitted to two scientific journals and will be published in 2023. 
 
Description Thermal energy and transport system with hydrogen technologies 
Organisation GEA Searle Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution This project will develop a test rig on a high-temperature heat pump and long-distance hydrogen transport for district heating and cooling. Extensive measurement will be carried out in this test rig. Meanwhile, theoretical analysis and modeling development on the investigated system will be carried out to implement optimal system designs and controls. The industrial waste heat recovery will benefit industrial partners like TATA Steel to understand how to utilize the waste heat onsite. The metal hydride reactors and heat exchangers used in this project will further enhance the manufacturer abilities of industrial partners like HiETA and GEA Searle. Meanwhile, the technologies of hydrogen storage, compression, and transport investigated in this project can provide useful information and data for Ricardo for their ongoing projects and further development in these areas.
Collaborator Contribution TATA Steel will provide information and data of onsite steel plant will be used for the test rig development; HiETA will provide inputs in the design and manufacture of high and low-temperature reactors; Searle will contribute to the design and manufacture of heat exchangers for the project Ricardo will contribute with design advice on the overall H2-Heat system development and its eventual commercialisation
Impact 1) TATA Steel has provided detailed information on available waste heat and waste heat parameters on their steel plants which have been used in the test rig design and modeling development in this project. 2) HiETA has provided design information for compact metal hydride reactors which have been considered and evaluated in the design of metal hydride reactors in this project. 3) Searle has provided design information of different types of metal hydride reactors and heat exchangers which are helpful for the reactor and heat exchanger designs in this project. 4) Ricardo has suggested some technologies for Metal hydride alloy selections and metal hydride storages which are useful for the project development.
Start Year 2021
 
Description Thermal energy and transport system with hydrogen technologies 
Organisation HiETA Technologies Limited
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution This project will develop a test rig on a high-temperature heat pump and long-distance hydrogen transport for district heating and cooling. Extensive measurement will be carried out in this test rig. Meanwhile, theoretical analysis and modeling development on the investigated system will be carried out to implement optimal system designs and controls. The industrial waste heat recovery will benefit industrial partners like TATA Steel to understand how to utilize the waste heat onsite. The metal hydride reactors and heat exchangers used in this project will further enhance the manufacturer abilities of industrial partners like HiETA and GEA Searle. Meanwhile, the technologies of hydrogen storage, compression, and transport investigated in this project can provide useful information and data for Ricardo for their ongoing projects and further development in these areas.
Collaborator Contribution TATA Steel will provide information and data of onsite steel plant will be used for the test rig development; HiETA will provide inputs in the design and manufacture of high and low-temperature reactors; Searle will contribute to the design and manufacture of heat exchangers for the project Ricardo will contribute with design advice on the overall H2-Heat system development and its eventual commercialisation
Impact 1) TATA Steel has provided detailed information on available waste heat and waste heat parameters on their steel plants which have been used in the test rig design and modeling development in this project. 2) HiETA has provided design information for compact metal hydride reactors which have been considered and evaluated in the design of metal hydride reactors in this project. 3) Searle has provided design information of different types of metal hydride reactors and heat exchangers which are helpful for the reactor and heat exchanger designs in this project. 4) Ricardo has suggested some technologies for Metal hydride alloy selections and metal hydride storages which are useful for the project development.
Start Year 2021
 
Description Thermal energy and transport system with hydrogen technologies 
Organisation Ricardo UK Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution This project will develop a test rig on a high-temperature heat pump and long-distance hydrogen transport for district heating and cooling. Extensive measurement will be carried out in this test rig. Meanwhile, theoretical analysis and modeling development on the investigated system will be carried out to implement optimal system designs and controls. The industrial waste heat recovery will benefit industrial partners like TATA Steel to understand how to utilize the waste heat onsite. The metal hydride reactors and heat exchangers used in this project will further enhance the manufacturer abilities of industrial partners like HiETA and GEA Searle. Meanwhile, the technologies of hydrogen storage, compression, and transport investigated in this project can provide useful information and data for Ricardo for their ongoing projects and further development in these areas.
Collaborator Contribution TATA Steel will provide information and data of onsite steel plant will be used for the test rig development; HiETA will provide inputs in the design and manufacture of high and low-temperature reactors; Searle will contribute to the design and manufacture of heat exchangers for the project Ricardo will contribute with design advice on the overall H2-Heat system development and its eventual commercialisation
Impact 1) TATA Steel has provided detailed information on available waste heat and waste heat parameters on their steel plants which have been used in the test rig design and modeling development in this project. 2) HiETA has provided design information for compact metal hydride reactors which have been considered and evaluated in the design of metal hydride reactors in this project. 3) Searle has provided design information of different types of metal hydride reactors and heat exchangers which are helpful for the reactor and heat exchanger designs in this project. 4) Ricardo has suggested some technologies for Metal hydride alloy selections and metal hydride storages which are useful for the project development.
Start Year 2021
 
Description Thermal energy and transport system with hydrogen technologies 
Organisation TATA Steel
Department Tata Limited UK
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution This project will develop a test rig on a high-temperature heat pump and long-distance hydrogen transport for district heating and cooling. Extensive measurement will be carried out in this test rig. Meanwhile, theoretical analysis and modeling development on the investigated system will be carried out to implement optimal system designs and controls. The industrial waste heat recovery will benefit industrial partners like TATA Steel to understand how to utilize the waste heat onsite. The metal hydride reactors and heat exchangers used in this project will further enhance the manufacturer abilities of industrial partners like HiETA and GEA Searle. Meanwhile, the technologies of hydrogen storage, compression, and transport investigated in this project can provide useful information and data for Ricardo for their ongoing projects and further development in these areas.
Collaborator Contribution TATA Steel will provide information and data of onsite steel plant will be used for the test rig development; HiETA will provide inputs in the design and manufacture of high and low-temperature reactors; Searle will contribute to the design and manufacture of heat exchangers for the project Ricardo will contribute with design advice on the overall H2-Heat system development and its eventual commercialisation
Impact 1) TATA Steel has provided detailed information on available waste heat and waste heat parameters on their steel plants which have been used in the test rig design and modeling development in this project. 2) HiETA has provided design information for compact metal hydride reactors which have been considered and evaluated in the design of metal hydride reactors in this project. 3) Searle has provided design information of different types of metal hydride reactors and heat exchangers which are helpful for the reactor and heat exchanger designs in this project. 4) Ricardo has suggested some technologies for Metal hydride alloy selections and metal hydride storages which are useful for the project development.
Start Year 2021
 
Title Design software for pressure, concentration and temperature (PCT) profiles of metal hydride alloys 
Description Based on the experimental results from the literature, design software for pressure, concentration, and temperature (PCT) profiles of metal hydride alloys has been developed. 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2022 
Impact The software will facilitate the metal hydride (MH) alloy selections and design and modeling development of MH energy systems 
 
Description CIBSE ASHRAE Technical Symposium 2023 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact We will attend and present at the conference. We will meet and discuss with other researchers and industrial engineers during the conference and exchange ideas on common interests. We will then potentially develop collaboration in various research .projects.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2023
URL https://www.cibse.org/what-s-on/cibse-technical-symposium
 
Description International Conference on Applied Energy 2021 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The 13th International Conference on Applied Energy 2021 was held online on Nov. 29-Dec. 2, 2021.
The conference was attended by a large number of academic researchers and professionals with the following subjects related to energy:
i) renewable energy
ii) energy conversion technologies
iii) energy storage and energy sciences etc.

More than 500 people mostly from both academics and Industries in different countries attended this conference. Potential collaborations are expected in the area of waste heat recovery.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021