Vytas powering on with ‘Green Hydrogen On Demand’

Technology metals company Vytas is aiming to revolutionise the green energy industry with its ‘Green Hydrogen On Demand’ process.

Vytas Managing Director David Cornell says its fully recyclable Green Hydrogen On Demand represents an affordable, safe and sustainable process to store green energy at scale and deliver reliable dispatchable energy.

“Importantly being on demand, our process mitigates the infrastructure and safety challenges of transport and storage of hydrogen,” he says.

“This alone will save billions in infrastructure otherwise required for alternative hydrogen production processes.”

The WA-based company adopted and improved a 100-plus year-old technology of producing high purity hydrogen and is in the third scale-up phase of proving its updated technology.

Vytas Project Manager Julian Ford commissioning UHPQ reaction vessel. Images: Vytas.

During development of phase one and two, Vytas optimised a low energy, environmentally friendly process to convert silica into a carbon free nanoporous silicon that – when combined with water molecules – produces Hydrogen. The green hydrogen is used to produce electricity or utilised in industrial applications.

“This pilot will increase the scale of what we’re doing and enables us to demonstrate the entire process from silica to silicon to electricity, with the silicon being converted back to silica in the chemical reaction and recycled for re-use,” Cornell says.

“The pilot will assist our understanding of the intermediate reactions that occur in the process, and that data will enable us to further optimise the plant for commercial applications including designing a heat recovery system.”

Vytas’ project is listed on WA Investments*.

Cornell says the pilot, comprising a 50-kilowatt system, will take about 12 weeks.

“It’s a relatively quick program before we upscale by a factor of 10, to a 500kW system, which will also be about a 12-week program but will require planning and adoption of the learnings from the 50kW system,” he says.

With multiple tenement areas across WA, Cornell says the company has a reliable supply of quality feed to support Vytas pursuing a material position in meeting the forecasted demand of green hydrogen.

Vytas is operating out of three facilities, including its main laboratory in the Perth CBD, but is looking to centralise in the Kwinana or Fremantle region in the near future.

How does the process work?

In the initial stages of the project, Vytas is targeting land-based industrial power usage and shipping, with the heavy diesel and automotive industries earmarked further in the future.

To produce Green Hydrogen On Demand, Vytas converts silica to a carbon free nanoporous silicon using green energy or waste heat.

“Unlike electrolysis, Green Hydrogen On Demand does not compete with industry, agriculture and townships for fresh water as it can utilise brackish, waste, or salt water,” Cornell says.

When water is added to the silicon, hydrogen is spontaneously produced via a chemical reaction.

of the generation of electricity in a fuel cell, supporting industry, including agriculture and townships.

“Thinking ahead, imagine a scenario where you refuel your car by buying five kilograms of silicon from the supermarket or service station etc. and hand in the waste product (silica) for recycling and top up the water requirement with the garden hose or another source of water,” he says.

“When the engine or fuel cell demands fuel, the control system mixes the required amount of silicon and water to produce your own fuel, moments before it’s consumed, in the vehicle on the go.

“With the added benefit of avoiding the need to store hydrogen in the vehicle, at 350 to 700 bar, otherwise representing a risk to vehicle operators, passengers and by passers.”

Advantages: reliable, sustainable, low-cost, safe

Vytas Lab Technician David Western commissioning the UHPQ rotary tube furnace.

Cornell says Vytas’ process is safer, lower cost and more sustainable compared to other processes that seek to produce green hydrogen.

“The challenge hydrogen needs to resolve is how to store and transport the gas without large costs and energy losses,” he says.

“Vytas’ solution of a very high effective energy density held in an (other than don’t get it wet) inert substance solves these issues.”

Cornell says reliable green energy requirements to maintain efficiencies with other hydrogen process compound the challenge.

“Wind and solar have much potential that needs to be unlocked. This can be achieved by storing abundant amounts of green energy when it is produced and releasing that energy as safe, affordable and dispatchable power,” he says.

“That’s the opportunity for Vytas’ Green Hydrogen On Demand. We don’t need reliable green energy, we don’t need expensive storage and logistics, we don’t even need fresh water! There are so many positives every way you look at it.”

Because Vytas’ process uses heat and not electricity, Cornell says it can also be powered by processing plants, refineries or other sources of waste heat, which is “a major advantage”.

 

*WA Investments is a collaboration between CCIWA and Invest and Trade WA. 

For information about showcasing your project or investment opportunities, visit WA Investments. 

 

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