Christchurch-headquartered cryocooler developer AFCryo in conjunction with Clean Power Hydrogen (CPH2) has unveiled its Green Hydrogen Production System to provide a cheaper and more reliable way of generating green hydrogen from renewable sources for refuelling transport, generating power and industrial use.
The revolutionary system, which splits water into pure hydrogen and medical grade oxygen without the polymer membrane used in common electrolysers, combines AFCryo’s world-leading cryogenic technology for gas separation and hydrogen liquefaction with unique and patented Membrane-Free Electrolyser technology from UK manufacturer CPH2.
AFCryo and CPH2 have signed a landmark agreement to collaboratively develop and market the on-demand green hydrogen and oxygen production system.
AFCryo is set to ship its first production unit to CPH2 in the UK, for integration with its electrolyser technology, for a commission to deliver Ireland’s first 1MW (megawatt) electrolyser-based system to produce pure hydrogen and oxygen.
Christopher Boyle, Managing Director and co-founder of AFCryo, says the company is on a mission to add hydrogen to the global energy network to help governments, businesses and energy consumers reach bold emission reduction targets.
“Hydrogen is one of the most scalable and viable options we have to help us make the energy transition to a lower-carbon economy.
By joining forces with CPH2, we’ve created a faster, more reliable and more cost-effective renewable energy hydrogen production system. Importantly, the oxygen, considered a bi-product of the hydrogen production system, is pure enough to be captured for use in industry or injected into existing waste-water systems to improve the aerobic process.”
Boyle says government and industry investment in the hydrogen economy is critical to achieving global decarbonisation goals.
“This technology is ready to help transport networks and industries globally transition to hydrogen to help achieve zero-carbon targets.
“In New Zealand, an immediate opportunity is to turn the hydrogen refuelling network concept into reality with our technology for on-site and on-demand hydrogen production. We can manufacture our system as a re-locatable containerised module – ideal for a decentralised refuelling network – or as a large scale production plant,” he says.
Government Minister Megan Woods, who has the Energy and Resources portfolio, as well as that of Research, Science and Technology says the project is an exciting development.
“This is exactly the kind of collaboration that will start to un-lock a new energy future for New Zealand as we seek to decarbonise our economy and have less reliance on fossil fuels.”
Jon Duffy, Chairman and CEO, CPH2, said: “Our ambition is to help clean up the environment for our children and future generations. To do this, we’re scaling up our business to meet the rapid growth and demand of the global electrolyser market.
technology offers a cheaper and more reliable alternative to the more common
Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) electrolysers which uses membranes to separate
the streams of hydrogen and oxygen gases, which is expensive and can often
break down. AFCryo is an important technology and manufacturing partner for our combined renewable hydrogen production
Dr Nigel Williamson, Technology Director of CPH2, said: “AFCryo will design our larger cryogenic systems, which include their cryogenic separation technology and New Zealand-made DC power systems, to form the back-end of our novel electrolyser technology for scales above 1MW.”
AFCryo has earned a reputation as a world leader in the design and manufacturer of cryocoolers and liquefiers.
The company was established in 2017 as a joint venture between Christchurch, New Zealand-based Fabrum Solutions, an innovator in the design, development, and manufacture of composite cryostats, superconducting motors and cryogenic systems established in 2004 and Grenoble, France-based Absolut System, a specialist engineering company with advanced cryogenic engineering expertise founded in 2010.
Hugh Reynolds, Technical Director and co-founder of AFCryo and Fabrum Solutions, said: “AFCryo and CPH2 are at the leading technological edge of sustainable, cost-effective green hydrogen development on demand.
“By cross-licensing our technologies, we can meet the demand for our combined solution at a highly competitive cost to the end-user – which is vital to encourage the uptake of any emerging technology.
“Our partnership will also pave the way for New Zealand assembly of large scale Green Energy Electrolysers, with the majority of the technology supplied by New Zealand companies. Alongside our cryocoolers, we’re also integrating technology from other local companies such as Enatel, which provided the DC power and energy management technology,” he says.
AFCryo’s cryocooler technology can liquefy and recondense nitrogen, oxygen, methane, argon, neon, biogas and hydrogen for animal science, food and beverage, research, medicine and energy applications.
The technology has cooling power in the range of 100-10,000 watts, in a 40-150° kelvin temperature range – allowing it to act as a refrigerator to cool devices such as High-Temperature Superconductors (HTS) and detectors.
Co-founders Boyle and Reynolds have been on a 17-year journey since Fabrum Solutions developed its first cryocooler in 2005, taking it through to full commercialisation with the support of Callaghan Innovation into spinout company AFCryo.
Boyle says, “While customers worldwide use the cryocooler solutions we’ve designed for specific requirements in space, aviation, HTS, industry and emerging fields such as Biogas LNG – green hydrogen production represents our most significant global opportunity to date.
“We expect demand for renewable hydrogen and oxygen production to intensify as costs fall with the scale-up of electrolyser-based technology and cheaper electricity generation. We are gearing up for local production for domestic and export markets, which will provide additional benefits in terms of jobs and a welcome economic boost for Christchurch and New Zealand,” he says.