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Development of innovative hydrogen purification technology based on membrane systems
Deadline: May 3, 2016  

 Waste Management
 Horizon Europe

Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

Each year about 50 M ton of hydrogen is produced in majority at refineries by steam methane reforming. Most of it is purified using large pressure swing absorption systems. For a continuous flow of pure hydrogen, multiple units are required, operating in out-of-phase duty cycles, demanding a substantial investment for refineries and producing a waste fraction, normally used for heat generation. Especially at lower scale, PSA systems are not meeting cost targets (CAPEX & OPEX). For new hydrogen production methods without heat demand like biomass fermentation and for hydrogen from industrial hydrogen pipelines and underground caverns, innovative and lean hydrogen purification technologies, alternative to conventional purification technologies like PSA or cryogenic evaporation are needed.

This topic calls for proposals to develop innovative membrane based hydrogen purification methods fit for dynamic hydrogen demand at lower scale and high hydrogen purity requirements. NCNG applications are excluded from this topic.


The scope of this topic comprises the proof-of-concept and optimization of hydrogen purification technologies that meet the purity requirements for fuel cells used in stationary and transport applications. These systems should be optimized for stand-alone operation with minimum H2 concentration in the feed gas of 50%, used for purification from the new hydrogen production methods, delivery and storage sources.

Proposals for projects are expected to address small-scale clean-up steps of H2 produced from new production methods.

The project(s) shall take into account the following overall technology objectives:

  • Low overall energy consumption. This includes energy input, H2 losses and energy required for re-compression to input pressure. The operational cost of purification is expected to be a small fraction of the final hydrogen cost
  • Low investment cost. This includes small-scale gas clean-up and purification processes

The project should include:

  • Development of a stand-alone hydrogen purification system
  • Validation of the hydrogen purification technology in a relevant simulated environment
  • Cost assessment of the developed hydrogen purification technology, addressing operational and installation cost of the system including the required cleaning up processes and benchmarking with the conventional PSA

Projects are expected to start at TRL 3 and to reach TRL 5.

The FCH 2 JU considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of EUR 2 million would allow the specific challenges to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected duration: 3 years

A maximum of 1 project will be funded under this topic

Expected Impact:

A step change in installation and operational cost for a membrane based, small scale stand-alone hydrogen purification system is expected:

  • The purification technology needs to show a hydrogen recovery of above 90%
  • Hydrogen purity must comply with the SAE2719 or ISO 14687-2/3 standards on hydrogen quality for fuel cell vehicles, reaching a minimum of 5 N
  • Output capacity (depending on H2 purity and feed gas flow) should range between 2-5 kgH2/day
  • Energy consumption of Hydrogen purification technology should be able to achieve 5 kWh/kg H2
  • Reduction of CAPEX compared to state of art (e.g. PSA purification) to 1500€/kg H2/day

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