Many see great promise in hydrogen as a fuel for zero-emission transportation and a raw material in the industrial sector. Not only has the number of hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles been steadily on the rise. The fulfillment of COP climate targets will eventually require large quantities of the compound, for example, in refineries, steel processing and the basic chemical industry. What is needed is a reliable system to track and certify exactly where the green hydrogen comes from and how it is produced.
A Guarantee of Origin, or GO for short, is currently being devised by a consortium on behalf of the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen 2 Joint Undertaking, a public-private partnership made up of the European Commission and several of the continent’s businesses and research organizations. The pilot was named CertifHy and is headed by Hinicio, a strategy consulting firm.
The company in charge of drawing up the documentation and procedures based on the first project stage from 2014 to 2016 is LBST. “Together with 14 industrial suppliers and 500 interested stakeholders, we used the first CertifHy project stage to create a solid foundation for our system. Now, we can begin to discuss its implementation. As many as 650 people will be involved in creating a de facto harmonized European guarantee of origin,” Hinicio’s Wouter Vanhoudt, CertifHy’s project leader, said. Uwe Albrecht, LBST’s managing director, added that “green hydrogen has shown great potential in past years’ energy scenarios and environmental analyses to thoroughly and sustainably transform the transportation and industrial sector. And with CertifHy, stakeholders will soon have a reliable tool to guarantee its origin.”
On Nov. 20 last year, the consortium set up a stakeholder platform. Its first plenary session attracted more than 100 partners from business, industry, politics, standardization committees, associations and research organizations in Europe. It also established four working groups to start tackling issues such as the creation of a system to track hydrogen production, certify manufacturers and pilots, provide user guidance and devise a policy framework. The overall objective of the stakeholder platform is to offer a forum for discussions about how to structure the system and manage the pilot stage. Bart Biebuyck, executive director of the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen 2 Joint Undertaking, said at the start of the session that the intent was to have a “self-sustaining” system by the end of the project.
Once this system is set up successfully, plans are to popularize CertifHy among institutions in Europe and incorporate it into European regulations and technical standards starting in 2019.
To test and improve the procedures and the system itself, the consortium selected four pilots at locations throughout Europe, each using a different type of H2 production pathway. In France, industrial gas supplier Air Liquide produces hydrogen through steam reforming natural gas, with subsequent carbon capture and storage. In the Netherlands, chemical company AkzoNobel creates it as a byproduct of chloralkali electrolysis. Belgian retail chain Colruyt, on the other hand, produces the gas on-site to refuel its fleet of vehicles. And energy utility Uniper’s wind-sourced electrolysis generated green hydrogen in Falkenhagen, Germany.
How it works
How it can be used
How long it will take
Consortium members are the international inspection and certification services provider TÜV SÜD from Munich; green energy and transportation consulting firm Ludwig-Bölkow-Systemtechnik from Ottobrunn, near Munich; consortium leader and strategy consulting firm Hinicio, based in Belgium; Dutch research institute ECN and IT systems provider Grexel, based in Finland.
Written by Matthias Altmann, LBST, Ottobrunn