Shell catalysts & technologies is launching the shell blue hydrogen process

Shell catalysts & technologies is launching the shell blue hydrogen process

This integrates proven technologies for significant increases in the affordability of green field projects for blue hydrogen production from natural gas along  with carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS).

Affordable blue hydrogen is an important part of the energy transition enabling the decarbonisation of hard to abate heavy industries while creating value for refiners and resource holders.

Although renewable electricity is expanding rapidly, without low-carbon hydrogen the net-zero goals announced by governments and companies will be difficult to achieve. The EU’s hydrogen strategy , for example describes the fuel as essential to support the EU’s commitment to reach carbon neutrality by 2050 and for the global effort to implement the Paris agreement.

Currently, hydrogen production is nearly all “grey”  (from hydrocarbons without CCUS) and accounts for more than double the UK’s annual carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. If hydrogen is to contribute to carbon neutrality , it must be produced on a much larger scale and with far lower emission levels.

Long term , the answer is likely to be “green” hydrogen produced from the electrolysis  of water powered by renewable energy.

However, electrolysis is currently expensive and there is insufficient renewable energy available to support larg scale production.

Meeting today’s demand through electrolysis would require more than the EU’s annual electricity use. And using the current EU electricity mix would produce grey hydrogen from electrolysis  with 2.2 times the greenhouse gas emissions producing grey hydrogen from natural gas.

Scaling up blue hydrogen production will be easier than delivering green hydrogen. With CO2 costing $25 up to 35/t ,blue hydrogen becomes competitive against grey, even with its higher capital costs. And green hydrogen may still be more than double the price of blue hydrogen by 2030 and not achieve cost parity until about 2045.

This analysis is based on conventional steam methane reforming (SMR) and autothemal reforming (ATR)  technologies. The availability of the shell blue hydrogen process, which integrates proprietary shell gas partial oxidation (SGP) technology with ADIP ULTRA solvent technology , further improves blue hydrogen economics.

A key advantage of SGP technology over ART is that the parial oxidation reaction does not require steam.instead, high- pressure steam is generated , which satisfies  the steam demands of the process and some other power consumers. There is also no need for feed gas pretreatment , which simples the process line-up. And SGP gives refiners greater feed flexibility , as it is more robust against feed contaminates and can thus accommodate a large range of natural gas qualities.

Compare with ATR,SGP technology gives a %22 lower levellised cost of hydrogen form:

  • %17 lower capital expenditure (higher operating pressure giving smaller hydrogen compressor and CO2 capture and compressor units)
  • %34 lower operating expenditure(excluding the natural gas feedstock price) form reduced compression duties and more steam generation.

Modelling shows that, compared with an ATR unit, a shell blue Hydrogen process line-up producing 500 t/d of pure hydrogen would have:

  • $30 million lower operating expenditure
  • %10 greater CO2 recovery
  • A 10 up to 25 percent lower levellised cost of hydrogen

When compared with SMR, SGP technology leads to even grater hydrogen production cost saving from both the capital and operating expenditure prespectives.

Source: fuelcellsworks

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