TECHNOLOGY COMPANY HYTING UNLOCKS POTENTIAL FOR HYDROGEN

Decarbonising heating is a globally recognised challenge, and one which must be quickly overcome if the ambitious target of net-zero is to be achieved by 2050.

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Newly formed technology company HYTING has developed a carbon-free forced-air heating system (patents-pending) that uses a unique catalytic process to turn hydrogen and oxygen from air into heat. Unlike systems that rely on hydrogen combustion to generate heat, HYTING’s technology does not produce any CO2, NOx, or particulate emissions – the only by-product is water.

The process is also inherently safe, as it does not use flammable concentrations of hydrogen at any operating point. The hydrogen is supplied at the same low pressures typical of natural gas supplies – around 1.5bar – so costly and energy-intensive compression and storage is not used. And unlike other technologies which rely on hydrogen, such as fuel cells, HYTING’s heating system works on commonly available hydrogen sources: high-purity grades are not necessary.

HYTING’s technology is as robust and cost-effective as it is innovative because it uses many proven, existing components from the heating and automotive industries. It’s also modular and highly scalable in design, with outputs of 10-300 kW, enabling it to be configured for a wide range of different heating applications, including industrial, commercial, and residential buildings – both new-builds and retrofits, agricultural greenhouses, portable heating units, and heating systems for commercial vehicles (e.g. buses, coaches and heavy-duty trucks). It’s even suitable for pizza ovens. Prototypes are currently undergoing testing, with the first customer trials expected in Germany by the end of this year.

Tim Hannig, Founder, HYTING, said: “Just as hydrogen is recognised as an ideal means to decarbonise hard-to-abate transport sectors such as aviation, shipping, and trucks, we also see hydrogen’s potential to contribute to the decarbonization of the building sector. We’re preparing our technology for the first customer trials, with the ambition to quickly scale to volume production within the next two years. We want to play our part in accelerating the transition from fossil fuels towards a more sustainable future by placing our zero-emissions heating systems at the heart of the clean hydrogen economy.”

Heating is responsible for a significant proportion of the world’s carbon emissions, accounting for 15 per cent of CO2 emissions1, with natural gas used to heat 42 per cent of homes2. Gas- and oil-fired heating is slowly being phased out in favour of air- and ground-source heat pumps, but although they are a promising alternative they are not efficient at very low ambient temperatures, or periods of high demand.

Achieving net zero by 2050 is challenging, but achievable. Hydrogen heating systems can make a contribution to that now, using existing sources of hydrogen, with the added incentive that the cost of hydrogen relative to natural gas is predicted to fall over the next three decades. The global energy requirements for heating can also help to spur the development and expansion of the hydrogen economy, since green hydrogen is an ideal method of storing excess energy produced by renewables including solar, wind and hydro power. Converting this hydrogen directly into heat for heating requriements is more efficient and simpler than reconversion coupled with electrical heating. The green hydrogen market has enormous potential, with predictions of a value of US$642 billion in 2030, rising to US$1.4 trillion in 20503.

Whilest there are significant challenges to adoption of hydrogen worldwide, one near-term measure to kick start the market would be building on existing infrastructure, such as the millions of kilometres of natural gas pipelines that already exist and which would become otherwise redundant in future. Using clean hydrogen to replace just 5 per cent of the volume of the world’s natural gas supplies would significantly boost demand for clean hydrogen and drive down costs4, making it an even more attractive, sustainable source of heating worldwide.

1 World Economic Forum.
2 International Energy Agency report: Heating.
3 Research from Deloitte: Green Hydrogen: Energizing the path to net zero.
4 International Energy Agency report: The Future of Hydrogen.