Wintershall Dea is investing in a promising new technology for storing and transporting hydrogen developed by the Dresden-based startup AMBARtec AG.
Wintershall Dea became the startup’s lead investor via its fully-owned subsidiary Wintershall Dea Technology Ventures GmbH. In addition to underlining its confidence in AMBARtec’s new technology, this investment also highlights Wintershall Dea’s commitment to supporting the development of a hydrogen market in Germany and Europe.
AMBARtec’s unique HyCS (Hydrogen Compact Storage) technology offers a compact and cost-energy-efficient method to store and transport hydrogen.
The HyCS technology is based on a process of loading and unloading hydrogen into a storage unit containing iron. The loading process involves reducing the iron by introducing hydrogen, which releases steam. To unload the hydrogen, steam is reintroduced into the storage unit, which oxidises the iron.
This novel technology, which has the potential to become a game changer in the storage and transportation of hydrogen, offers several advantages over conventional methods.
AMBARtec’s HyCS storage system uses a standard 20-foot intermodal container (TEU) that can hold 600 kg (20,000 kWh) of hydrogen. These containers, which do not have to be cooled nor bear the danger of hydrogen losses, can be transported by truck, train or ship.
Currently, there is only a single vessel worldwide capable of and purpose-built for transporting liquid hydrogen. The hydrogen, which is maintained at a temperature of -253°C, is held in a single tank with a maximum capacity of 1,250 cubic metres. In comparison, this same volume could collectively fit into just 134 containers using the AMBARtec technology. Currently, the largest container ship can carry slightly over 24,000 TEU which represents 24,000 containers of the AMBARtec system.
Hugo Dijkgraaf, Wintershall Dea’s CTO, said, “To scale up the hydrogen market, it will be key to have an efficient and flexible way to transport it – which is precisely where AMBARtec’s smart HyCS technology comes in.”
Matthias Rudloff, CEO of AMBARtec, said, “Wintershall Dea is opening the door to the international energy business and enabling new business cases, and private investors will push us forward to decentralised and independent power islands based on green hydrogen.”