Kiwa opens new hydrogen plant in Cheltenham
The project involves steam methane reforming of locally produced syngas from a biogas source and the conversion of Kiwa’s labs to use piped hydrogen.
Kiwa has recently opened a new hydrogen production plant in Cheltenham linked to Kiwa’s new test labs by the UK’s first low-pressure hydrogen distribution pipeline.
The ability to connect to a continuous flow of colourised hydrogen will be invaluable to manufacturers seeking to understand the performance and longevity of their hydrogen appliances.
The Kiwa hydrogen plant at Cheltenham is the first small-scale Steam Methane Reforming (SMR) plant in the UK to produce biogas-derived hydrogen from a local source.
This facility demonstrates the feasibility of producing hydrogen from a locally derived source and will be a template for many other waste treatment, water treatment and other anaerobic digestion sites to produce hydrogen across UK. This will provide real data on the reliability of small-scale SMR hydrogen production plants and distribution networks to guarantee the security of supply to customers.
In Kiwa’s SMR plant biogas is reformed to produce up to 100 Nm3 of hydrogen gas – equivalent to 300 kW hydrogen output. The production could be expanded to 900 kW. The generated hydrogen is stored in a bullet with a capacity of 106 m3 at up to 6 bar, with a capacity for 62.3 kg or 2,074 kWh of hydrogen storage, which could be expanded to 267.7 kg at 30 bar pressure.
The pipeline connecting the SMR plant with the Kiwa test facilities is the first hydrogen pipeline to be operated under the UK 1986 Gas Act. The upgraded Kiwa testing facilities will be fed by pipeline-quality odorised hydrogen, providing appliance manufacturers with a more realistic and cheaper test gas than the bottled hydrogen gas they currently use.
The knowledge gained is already providing useful inputs to standards developers, market regulators and those looking to convert their own facilities to use bulk hydrogen. Kiwa is already taking bookings from technology developers wanting to demonstrate their products such as: hydrogen purifiers, gas analysers, and local carbon capture technologies.