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Industrial applications of hydrogen

Hydrogen has been used as an industrial raw material for decades. In a Norwegian context the most relevant examples have been in the production of ammonia and methanol, as well as the upgrading of fossil oils. More recently there has been increased attention on industrial applications of hydrogen, particularly with respect to the role that emissions free hydrogen can play as part of a net zero society.

Hydrogen can be a CO2 free alternative for industrial heat. Electrical alternatives face challenges related to efficiency, especially in large volume processes and gas burners may remain the only viable solution. In such scenarios hydrogen can replace fossil fuels.

Hydrogen can also replace carbon as reducing agent in metal production. Traditionally, carbon has been the preferred reductant used to extract metals from ores, but with CO2 as an unavoidable by-product. If hydrogen is successfully substituted for carbon, the by-product would be H2O rather than CO2.

Hydrogen is used as a raw material in the chemical industry to upgrade and refine fossil- and bio-based hydrocarbons by removing oxygen and adding hydrogen and turning them into products like chemicals and fuels. It is also used to remove undesired components from oils. Production of hydrogen is today most commonly associated with a specific application like ammonia production, or as a by-product from refining processes. Its use is also typically local, in hydrogen demanding processes.

We work in the following fields:

  • Hydrogen as heat source
    • Effect on heat- and temperature-distribution.
    • Effect of hydrogen and water vapour on metal quality (oxidation, dissolution of H)
    • Effect of hydrogen and water vapour on refractory materials
    • Off-gas handling and safety
    • Studies on NOx-formation and NOx-handling during hydrogen combustion.
  • Hydrogen as reducing agent
    • Prereduction of manganese ores
    • Prereduction of ilmenite
    • Hydrogen in modified Pedersen-process for alumina production
    • Selective reduction of iron oxides for valorisation of industrial waste
    • Hydrogen in iron- and steel production
    • Hydrogen plasma for metal production from stable oxides
  • Hydrogen as raw material
    • Refining and upgrading of fossil and bio-based hydrocarbons.
    • Removal of undesired components like sulphur and nitrogen from oils
    • Production of ammonia and methanol as well as other chemicals and fuels
    • Applications associated with carbon capture and utilisation (CCU)

Typical activities for us are:

  • Off-gas measurement campaigns from hydrogen combustion in industry
  • High temperature experiments with hydrogen as reducing agent
  • Experimental studies of hydrogen flames
  • Kinetic studies of gas-solid reactions
    • Effect of raw material composition
    • Effect of gas composition
  • Thermodynamic calculations
    • Equilibrium between hydrogen containing gases and solid raw materials
    • Dissolution and de-gassing of H in metals and slags
  • Testing of catalysts and feeds for existing process industry
    • Hydrogenation processes related to production of chemicals and fuels
  • Development, testing, and benchmarking of catalysts, processes and new process designs.
  • Development of novel concepts for thermochemical processes with hydrogen as feed.
    • Bio-refining: Upgrading of bio-based feeds.
    • Circular processes based on waste-streams or CO2
    • Carbon-free energy carriers

Who are our clients?

  • Norwegian and international metal producers
  • Chemical process industry (Suppliers and process owners)

Relevant projects:

Contact persons