Decarbonisation Technology May 2022 Issue

sources can provide low or negative carbon feedstock for hydrogen production, with some dairy RNG achieving -300 CI scores. In turn, this can allow an SMR system to generate carbon-neutral or negative hydrogen. Despite its higher cost per MMBtu ($50/MMBtu long- term off-take contract) compared to natural gas, the blended use of RNG in a distributed SMR system provides an economical and extremely effective pathway for reducing or entirely avoiding carbon emissions. As noted above, modular, distributed hydrogen production can offer a scalable solution for various end uses. Substantial carbon emission reductions are possible more cost-effectively than other production methods, whether using renewable or fossil-based natural gas. Based on the CA-GREET 3.0 model, assuming an end use in a heavy-duty fuel cell vehicle, an onsite BayoTech SMR system producing 1MT of hydrogen per day would reduce carbon emissions by 42% compared to the use of diesel fuel. It would be effectively cost-neutral in reducing carbon emissions ($0.00 per CI point reduction). That same technology, using a 30% blend of RNG, would achieve carbon neutrality at a cost of $0.02 per CI point reduction. In comparison, electrolysis powered by renewable energy would cost $0.035 per CI point reduction, and grid electrolysis would cost $0.17. Neither can achieve carbon neutrality. For any emerging technology to be successful, it must be cost-effective, both in terms of capital investment and operational costs. With the overarching goal of carbon reduction, we should assess production technologies on their ability to deliver carbon savings. Models such as CA-GREET 3.0 provide a useful starting point to allow carbon reduction estimates compared to baseline fuels. However, to harmonise the hydrogen market and provide more clarity and investor confidence, a global, unified approach to measuring carbon intensity and, ultimately, the economic value of a unit of hydrogen is required. Production technologies should be compared on an equal footing of carbon efficiency and cost-effectiveness. Efficient onsite steam methane reforming From a combined perspective of carbon efficiency and cost-effectiveness, onsite SMR

offers clear benefits today. However, to fully exploit the potential, it is not sufficient to simply shrink traditional large-scale SMR technology for lower volume production hubs. The catalyst in the SMR reaction requires a high amount of heat to generate hydrogen. With a conventional SMR design, the inefficient heat transfer into the reactors results in valuable feedstock being consumed solely to produce heat. Some of this heat produces steam for the reaction, but most is wasted. A new approach to generating hydrogen is emerging. BayoTech’s patented tube-in- tube ‘bayonet’ SMR design recuperates heat internally for direct use. This uses less energy than traditional SMR technology and eliminates any dependence on exported steam. For customers, this translates to less feedstock used, lower carbon emissions, and lower costs to produce the same amount of hydrogen. BayoTech is leveraging its core technology to develop 1- and 5-tonne units, which are being built and deployed in a distributed network of hydrogen hubs throughout the US and the UK. Given that these units need to operate autonomously and be monitored remotely, BayoTech turned to Emerson, a global technology and software leader, for its advanced automation technologies, software, and products. BayoTech uses Emerson’s programmable logic controller and edge control technologies, remote monitoring, and Microsoft Azure IoT Suite to automate and monitor 24x7 the unmanned units located anywhere in the world from our Albuquerque, New Mexico headquarters. Producing hydrogen efficiently on a small scale is key to realising the distributed model to make hydrogen more affordable and accessible to consumers. It is the pathway to bringing down costs and scaling up hydrogen demand quickly to take full advantage of this clean energy carrier.



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