Vallourec, Bekaert invest in components for green hydrogen

French pipemaker Vallourec has developed a large-scale hydrogen storage technology under the brand name “Delphy.”

The company has inaugurated its vertical compressed gas hydrogen storage demonstrator at its site in Aulnoye-Aymeries, northern France. It is a modular system that stores the green gas in “demanding industrial environments,” the firm says. The demonstrator made of tubes and connections equipped with sealing technology and corrosion resistance is installed underground and can store up to 100 tonnes of hydrogen for industrial applications and heavy mobility.

“Growth prospects in the global hydrogen sector are substantial, with a projected installed capacity of 61 million tonnes by 2030, providing Vallourec with an estimated revenue of several tens of millions of euros per storage unit… This project offers reliable, modular and competitive large-scale storage capacity. Vallourec offers a unique value proposition for the development of the hydrogen economy,” the re-roller says in a note seen by Kallanish. The demonstrator is part of the pipemaker’s strategy to expand its product offerings in the energy transition segment. The company expects its so-called “New Energies” segment to contribute between 10% and 15% of its Ebitda by 2030.

Belgian wire rod specialist Bekaert is continuing to develop hydrogen components for electrolysers and will invest $ 5 million in Vancouver-headquartered Ionomr Innovations, a specialist of advanced proton and anion exchange membranes in electrolysers for green hydrogen production. The two firms have collaborated in the past to develop AEM electrolyser components.

Bekaert has developed porous transport layers for both PEM and AEM electrolysers with the brand name Currento and is expanding its production to multiple gigawatts capacity. The company’s focus is to improve the performance of key electrolysis components. “We want to contribute to accelerating the innovation and scale-up of advanced solutions in our ecosystem. This will make the vision of a global hydrogen economy a near term reality, and we see Ionomr Innovations as a key contributor to that reality,” a company note states. Ionomr Innovations is backed by investors such as Shell, Chevron, Samsung, Asahi Kasei and several other industrial groups.

Bekaert is investing in a new manufacturing plant in Wetteren, Belgium, to double production of its “Currento” porous transport layers (PTL) technology for electrolysis. The new plant will increase PTL capacity to over 2 GW. In parallel, the steel processor will build a hydrogen lab at the Bekaert Technology Center in Deerlijk to develop products for green hydrogen production. Bekaert is investing to adapt its “Armofor” steel cord lightweight reinforced tape for use in pipelines for hydrogen transport at high pressure. It is currently used in oil and gas pipes. Vallourec is developing a new protocol to test its tubular solution for safe hydrogen transport. A research team is studying Vallourec’s VAM 21 connection behaviour at temperatures and tensions relevant for the storage of hydrogen (see Kallanish passim).

Natalia Capra France