The integration of Edison’s nickel-iron battery with robust alkaline electrolyser technology yields an efficient battery and -when fully charged- an electrolyser that can produce hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen can be used as chemical feedstock or be stored as fuel for seasonal storage, while the battery provides electricity storage for minutes, up to day and night. Overall energy efficiencies reach 80 to 90 percent. This development from the research group of prof. Fokko Mulder at TU Delft is now taken forward in the start-up Battolyser BV founded by TU Delft, Proton Ventures and Mulder. A first up-scaled battolyser pilot plant is currently being realised next to Nuon’s Magnum powerplant in Eemshaven.
Why should Battolyser win?
The Battolyser can become an important link in the energy transition and support both the energy companies and industry in the optimal use of sustainably generated electricity and hydrogen. Affordable renewable hydrogen is essential for green chemical products like storable artificial fuels, ammonia and for example iron production from metal oxide ores. Hans Vrijenhoef from Proton Ventures thinks that Battolyser more than deserves the title Industrial Energy Enlightenment: ‘The battery and hydrogen production brings together the best of both worlds because it charges, discharges or produces hydrogen perfectly in line with the availability -and costs- of intermittent renewable electricity.’
Innovation platform Metalot has already prepared plans to convert the Uniper coal-fired power station into an iron powder plant. First, proof will have to be provided that laboratory tests also work in practice. The researchers are building a pilot installation at the Nyrstar zinc plant in Budel. The great advantage of iron powder is the ability to store sustainable energy for a longer period of time. Long-term energy storage is crucial for the success of the energy transition to sustainable sources. With storage for the long term, when using iron powder, at least much less space is needed than would be the case with hydrogen.
Why should Metalot win?
Prof. dr. Philip de Goey of TU Eindhoven: ‘Metalot offers a clean alternative to coal-fired plants. As a result, the high investments in the new coal-fired plants do not have to be written off more quickly. We can use a large proportion of the existing assets for the production of clean electricity. This is not only working well for CO2 emissions, but also for the balancing of the electricity grid. ‘