ARCLATH

Artificial clathrates for safe storage, transport and delivery of hydrogen


In a nutshell

The ARCLATH project aims to overcome current drawbacks in hydrogen transportation and storage by developing a radically new transportation and storage concept based on clathrates. This new technology will make hydrogen available to industries where and when it’s needed in a safe and efficient way.

Feedstock and energy carrier
Hydrogen is a valuable molecule with multiple applications, both in the chemical industry and in the energy sector.

In the chemical industry, hydrogen is an important feedstock to produce valuable chemicals like ammonia and methanol. In (bio)refineries too, hydrogen is used in hydrogenation processes to saturate organic compounds. In the energy sector, on the other hand, hydrogen also plays a key role. Due to the fact that its combustion does not lead to CO2 emissions, it is often considered the sustainable energy carrier of the future.

Transportation and storage
Transporting and storing hydrogen, however, is no easy feat. Today, hydrogen is transported from production to distribution sites using pipelines, pressurised tube trailers or in liquefied form. Current storage technologies are based on compression, cryogenic liquefaction, chemisorption in metal hydrides or physisorption in nanoporous materials.

All of these transportation and storage techniques have significant drawbacks in terms of energy use and general safety, as they require high pressure and/or extremely low temperatures.

Clathrates
To overcome these drawbacks, ARCLATH proposes a radically new concept of hydrogen storage and transportation, based on clathrate hydrates, or ‘clathrates’.

In essence, clathrates are water-based materials made up of cavities large enough to encapsulate a variety of gas molecules. ARCLATH aims to encapsulate individual hydrogen molecules in these cavities in solid form. Loading and unloading the hydrogen molecules would be achieved by simply pressurizing and depressurizing the clathrate container.

Clear benefits
Using clathrates, vessels can transport and store hydrogen at the same capacity, but with more reasonable pressure and temperature requirements. Moreover, the technology is expected to suit all scales, from small cylinders to massive tanker ships. All in all, ARCLATH will increase the efficiency, safety and performance of hydrogen transportation and storage.

ARCLATH-2
After a year of research, ARCLATH already provided a proof of concept that shows hydrogen can indeed be encapsulated in clathrates under technically and economically relevant conditions, in terms of both pressure and temperature.

A follow-up project, ARCLATH-2, has now been initiated to maximise the hydrogen storage capacity of the clathrates under similar pressure and temperature conditions. At the same time, ARCLATH-2 will define a practical process of reversible hydrogen storage and delivery based on pressure swing cycling at lab scale.

Impact
Through innovations in hydrogen transportation and storage, ARCLATH further adds to the world-class hydrogen expertise already present in Flanders, allows our region to take on a pioneering role in this field, and helps industries fully exploit hydrogen as a feedstock and as the energy carrier of the future.


Project Details ARCLATH

Project type: cSBO in MOT4 Energy Innovation
Approved on: 12/12/2019
Start date: 01/01/2020 (expected duration of 18 months)
Budget: €1.474.775

Project Details ARCLATH-2

Project type: cSBO in MOT4 Energy Innovation
Approved on: 08/07/2021
Start date: 01/07/2021 (expected duration of 30 months)
Budget: €1.999.982


Partners


Contact

For more information about this project, please contact Peggy Fredrickx (pfredrickx@catalisti.be).