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Carbon280 wins UK Gov hydrogen storage pilot

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Liam Wignell
// // The technology has been developed by Carbon280

Late last month, the UK government’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) announced it was funding a world-first pilot of safe and non-toxic hydrogen storage.

One member of the consortium conducting the pilot is the developer of Hydrilyte, Perth-based Carbon280.

The Net Zero Innovation Portfolio (NZIP) Longer Duration Energy Storage Demonstration program has awarded funding to the Hydrilyte Refueler Prototype project which, if successful, will be built between 2022 and 2024 at Holyhead in North Wales.

The Phase 2 prototype will demonstrate the ability to store hydrogen in Hydilyte in a hydrogen hub, transporting the hydrogen using standard fuel tankers and releasing it into an Element2 hydrogen refuelling system.

Along with Carbon280, other members of the consortium include prime contractor and project administrator Corre Energy, Worley, Element 2 (the refueller) and Energy Reform (who are responsible for the modelling of energy systems).

Mark Rheinlander, Carbon280 founder and chief executive officer, said that with the funding, the UK government is positioning itself to “leapfrog” its competitive advantage in hydrogen storage technologies.

“As far as we know, the UK is unique in offering 100% funding to pilot early-stage technologies like Carbon280’s Hydrilyte and yet, it is at this point, when matched funding is hard to come by, that government funding can make the biggest difference to successful technology commercialisation,” he said.

We are very excited about the opportunity to bring a global technology first to the UK.

Mark Rheinlander, Carbon280 founder and CEO
Carbon280 wins UK Gov hydrogen storage pilot
Mark Rheinlander. Image – Linkedin.

Carbon280 is one of many Perth startups that have recently announced their work on groundbreaking projects overseas, such as Caretech in the United States and Tape Ark in the UK.

Why is this technology important?

As renewable power becomes far more commonplace, grid flexibility is key by utilising excess electricity generation.  This electricity can be cheaply converted into hydrogen which is zero-carbon fuel and better suited to the needs of heavy vehicles such as buses and HGVs in comparison to batteries.

While refuelling hydrogen is relatively simple, the transport of hydrogen is problematic, and this project is hoping to address the roadblock.

Transporting hydrogen to services stations includes movements through urban areas, meaning safety is paramount.

In the UK, it is prohibited to store hydrogen gas in large volumes in non-industrial areas, including truck stops.

“This limitation on volume practically limits the number of trucks that a truck stop can service to around eight to 10 HGVs per day,” noted Brendan Bilton, the founder and chief technology officer for Element 2.

“With around 500,000 HGVs on UK roads, compressed hydrogen simply doesn’t offer the scalability as a ‘Hub to Station’ hydrogen carrier.

“We are excited to be part of this project because Hydrilyte has the potential to provide a safe and scalable alternative that will enable the UK to lead the world in the transition from diesel to hydrogen powered heavy vehicles by 2030.”

Given the interest in hydrogen by individuals such as Fortescue Metals Group founder Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest, along with the state and federal governments, perhaps the findings of this prototype will be closely watched here in Australia.

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Picture of Liam Wignell

Liam Wignell

Liam has extensive experience across marketing, procurement and project management roles in both the public and private sector. He contributed to Startup News from 2020 to 2023 and was contracted as Managing Editor in 2022.
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