Hydrogen between fantasies and reality. There are believers who idealize hydrogen to solve all energy problems. There are the sceptics whose position was frozen in May 1937 with the Hildenburg accident (the German airship inflated with hydrogen caught fire, there were 35 fatalities). Between these two extreme visions, a more objective opinion would show the advantages and disadvantages of this gas, which is light, highly energetic, produces water when combined with oxygen and is one of the essential answers to the problem of fossil fuels.
Hydrogen, energy storage, energy transition… does that mean anything to you? We are absolutely convinced that hydrogen will be a pillar of energy storage in the very near future. I say “one of the pillars” because other complementary or competing technologies occupy the landscape. Let us be pleased with that. Some already exist, others are maturing in the laboratory, others are still to be invented.
We invite you to listen to actors in the energy transition. In particular, those of clean energy production and storage technologies; entrepreneurs who got their hands dirty, who are now taking the risk of change. We will try to offer you, as often as possible, a small article co-written with them. We are neither advertisers nor journalists. No. No. We went to Japan, Germany, the United States and near our homes. And we made one observation: the world of energy is in a boiling state! New technologies, clean production, new modes of exchange, transport, storage… it’s on the move. However, the subject does not always fascinate the crowds: too technical, a certain scepticism, even resignation to climate change, difficulties in visualizing energy (fifty litres of fuel in your car, it means something, but 1kWh…). If you are not convinced, stay with us. Hang in there, folks, we’re not going to be bored.
Episode 01. To start this interesting series of interviews, we are very lucky: We spoke with Pierre Emmanuel Casanova, the founder of Hysilabs. Thanks to Pierre Emmanuel, I am less complex. I thought I had a high speech rate, but I found someone faster than me. And since he says a lot of interesting things, you need to be an active listener. Pierre Emmanuel, the floor is yours!
The story of Hysilabs is a little similar to that of champagne. It was almost accidentally on the fringes of other chemical experiments that we discovered a formula that allows us to store large quantities of hydrogen in a liquid. We immediately saw the potential of this discovery because hydrogen is a very light gas that needs to be highly compressed to have an interesting energy density. With Hydrosil, we have the possibility to store 7 times the amount of hydrogen for the same volume of compressed gas.
So you store hydrogen in a liquid carrier?
Indeed, our Hydrosil product is capable of absorbing a large quantity of hydrogen. It is not the only liquid vector to meet this need. Toluene and ammonia can also be used to transport H2 in liquid form and others are working on it. The advantage of hydrosil is that it remains stable under standard conditions. In addition, it is non-toxic to humans and the environment.
Where does Hysilabs fit into the hydrogen manufacturing and transport chain?
Hysilabs’ technology comes downstream of hydrogen production, i.e. after the water electrolysis process that can be carried out using electricity from renewable sources. It is an industrial process designed to handle the equivalent of several thousand tons of hydrogen per year. The liquid works like a sponge. With our process, we charge it with hydrogen by heating it up. This operation consumes energy, of course, but it is as energy consuming as gas compression or liquefaction. Once loaded with hydrogen, Hydrosil can be easily transported because it is stable and, as I said, non-toxic. The discharge that releases hydrogen is a low-complexity process, with little calorific energy. We can then use our product for a new cycle.
With such characteristics, one can imagine a host of applications that can radically change the image and use of hydrogen in society. I imagine you must see a growing interest in your product…..
Yes… (smiles…). Indeed, the range of possibilities is wide for the use of Hydrosil. We are first and foremost chemists and our attention has been focused on developing our process to industrialize. But, yes, it is not difficult to imagine its applications, in sea or road transport, in storage and even in mobility.
What do you want to share with us today? a vision? a request for your development? an an anecdote?
Indeed, to pursue our development, we are looking for industrial and financial partners to bring this breakthrough solution to the market.
Thank you, Pierre Emmanuel, for sharing your passion with us. You have just been elected among in the 5 winners of the EDF Pulse programme. Congratulations!
Yes! within the Smart City category. We are delighted because it brings a great visibility to our solution and great developments to come!