With the increasing demand of energy, the limited fossil fuels resources and the greenhouse gas emissions from combustion of carbon-based fuels like wood, coal, oil and natural gas we are forever being driven towards the development of alternative sources of power generation with hydrogen, Energy from waste and bigas production at the forefront of the alternatives.
Supplying hydrogen to industrial users is now a major business around the world. Demand for hydrogen, which has grown more than threefold since 1975, continues to rise. A big driver for hydrogen is of course to being more economically friendly, aiming for the target of “Net Zero” carbon emissions. This is expected to bring about a decline in the use of fossil fuels and possibly some of the other unrenewable energy sources.
Hydrogen use today is dominated by industry, namely: oil refining, ammonia production, methanol production and steel production. Virtually all of this hydrogen is supplied using fossil fuels, so there is significant potential for emissions reductions from clean hydrogen.
In transport, the competitiveness of hydrogen fuel cell cars depends on fuel cell costs and refuelling stations, while for trucks the priority is to reduce the delivered price of hydrogen. Shipping and aviation have limited low-carbon fuel options available and represent an opportunity for hydrogen-based fuels.
In buildings, hydrogen could be blended into existing natural gas networks, with the highest potential in multifamily and commercial buildings, particularly in dense cities while longer-term prospects could include the direct use of hydrogen in hydrogen boilers or fuel cells.
In power generation, hydrogen is one of the leading options for storing renewable energy, and hydrogen and ammonia can be used in gas turbines to increase power system flexibility. Ammonia could also be used in coal-fired power plants to reduce emissions.
At MGA Controls we already have a successful track record supporting the hydrogen industry, namely in hydrogen production via electrolysis, consumption via fuel cells, storage of high-pressure hydrogen in cylinders and distribution of hydrogen through refuelling stations.
Electrolysis is carried out at much lower pressures than the refuelling and tends to see pressures of up to 60 bar max. Refuelling stations operate at much higher pressures depending on the size of vehicle that is being filled, but these can be required to operate from 350 up to 700 bar.
As Hydrogen can be handled in both its gaseous and its liquid forms, temperature can vary depending on which form it takes, liquid being much colder than the gas, making the application cryogenic in some cases.
We have worked extremely closely with Baumer UK in offering a range of process sensors, covering the measurement of temperature (TCR6), pressure (PBMN), and level (LBFS). We have also successfully deployed high pressure solenoid valves for isolation (Buschjost 83830 range), as well as directional control solenoid valves from Maxseal (ICO4S & ICO3S). We have also provided the Thompson Valves range for relief valves (X855) and safety valves (S153), as well as high-pressure regulators (D973 & J50) and filters (W11/12 & F581).
One of the most suitable materials for working with hydrogen tends to be 316L, as it is resilient to the embrittlement that hydrogen can cause.
Waste-to-energy (WtE) or energy-from-waste (EfW)
Incineration from non-recyclable waste is the most common way of generating energy in the form of electricity and or heat. All WtE plants incinerating waste must adhere to strict emission standards to remove pollutants from smoke, preventing any negative impact on the environment.
At MGA Controls we have worked very closely with a manufacturer of both loaders and incinerators to convert their current hydraulic systems to pneumatic systems. By providing this solution they now have better control over the opening/closing mechanisms and have benefited from a huge cost saving on the control system due to the cost of the hydraulic controls.
Biogas typically refers to a mixture of different gases produced by the breakdown of organic matter in the absence of oxygen. Biogas can be produced from raw materials such as agricultural waste, manure, municipal waste, plant material, sewage, green waste, or food waste.
For several years our engineering experts in the water industry have worked with the engineering teams from the country’s largest water companies to provide a solution to the challenges they had been facing whilst generating their own biogas.
The Problem is H2SO4 corrodes most materials, especially yellow metals, low and high grades of steel, including stainless and only special acid resistant elastomers can cope long term
This problem of ‘saturated’ Biogas, unrecognised by general valve suppliers to the Water Industry, has led to low-cost products with inappropriately selected materials being frequently used, resulting in a range of failures and costly repairs and extensive downtime.
As a result, our engineers were asked to assist in writing new biogas handling asset standards that would cover in part the requirements of WIMES 9.01 –CHP Installations and IGEM (Institution of Gas Engineers & Managers) Technical Gas Standards.
In addition, we were also asked to assist in writing new Guidance Notes for ‘Valves used for biogas applications’ in WIMES 8.09 i2 –Valves because of problems such as valves seizing, Liners swelling, decaying, becoming embrittled and disintegrate, valves leaking across the seat, valves leaking through the stem into the atmosphere and metallic & non-metallic, wetted, and non-wetted materials corroding, internally & externally.
Our Solution was to specify and supply a range of Stainless Steel, threaded and flanged ball and butterfly valves with compliant materials, capable of meeting biogas, IGEM & WIMES standards, with appropriate leak-tight sealing and proven long term performance.