Concept: Linde Engineering has partnered with Evonik to develop the world’s first plant HISELECT for extracting hydrogen from natural gas pipelines using membrane technology. HISELECT leverages Evonik’s membrane technology to extract hydrogen from natural gas pipelines. The new process provides an easy and cost-effective method of transporting hydrogen to a wide range of end-point applications.

Nature of Disruption: The plant demonstrates a new cost-effective method for transporting hydrogen in which hydrogen is blended with natural gas and transported through natural gas pipelines. The blended gas comprises between five and 60% hydrogen. Membranes are used to extract hydrogen from these natural gas streams at the point of consumption. The resulting hydrogen has a concentration level of up to 90%. The membrane used for extracting hydrogen consists of highly selective hollow fibers that can efficiently separate the hydrogen in the blended natural gas stream from the main components of methane and higher hydrocarbons. The duo claims that the hydrogen processed with pressure swing adsorption (PSA) technology can provide up to 99.9999% purity and the process provides robust performance even under the harshest conditions besides offering superior chemical resistance and high-temperature tolerance.

Outlook: Hydrogen has varied applications including a zero-emissions source of fuel, a feedstock gas for industry, and a source of heat and power for buildings. However, the lack of infrastructure to efficiently transfer hydrogen from production facilities to the point of use can hamper the applications of hydrogen in various industries. Linde and Evonik claim that HISELECT offers an efficient and cost-effective method to transfer hydrogen by tapping the existing natural gas pipelines. This can avoid the high costs and the long process that is involved in building a dedicated hydrogen pipeline infrastructure. The novel process can increase the reach and potential of hydrogen as a more sustainable source of fuel and energy.

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