Switzerland to launch hydrogen production from hydropower in 2023
H-TEC SYSTEMS, an electrolysis manufacturer, and Swiss Group E plan to start green hydrogen production in 2023, using electricity from the Schiffenenen dam hydropower plant built in 1963 in the canton of Fribourg, western Switzerland. With the help of tanker trucks, the hydrogen would be transported by road to the filling stations near the A12 and A1 freeways popular among truck operators.

The photo is sourced from hydroreview.com

The project with the production capacity of 300,000 tons per year would be implemented with proton-conducting polymer electrolyte (special plastic) membranes. The electrolysis plant is to be powered by a 2-megawatt (MW) hydro turbine located on the Zane River, a natural French-German language border of Switzerland. Group E, operating the hydro turbines, supplies power to 400,000 people in the cantons of Fribourg, Neuchâtel, Vaud and Bern.

Switzerland is one of the European leaders in the hydrogen transport development: before the COVID-19 pandemic, the country had abolished the transport tax on fuel cell vehicles with the carrying capacity of over 3,000 tons. In its turn, the Korean Hyundai company supplied 10 fuel cell trucks with the carrying capacity of 18,000 tons to Switzerland in 2020. The company is going to increase the number of such truck units on the Swiss roads to 1.6 thousand units by 2030.

As the IEA says, hydropower plants (HPP) are the most common generation type in Switzerland: they accounted for 58% of power generation in 2020, while nuclear power plants – 34% and all the other sources – 8%. By 2040, Switzerland may build 15 new, pumped storage power plants (PSPP) that would produce two terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity every winter (with the current annual output of just over 70 TWh). The Swiss Department of Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications selected 15 PSPP projects last year, eight of which are to be implemented in the southwestern canton of Valais (in the southwest of the country), three – in Bern (in the centre of the country), two – in the southeastern canton of Graubünden, and one – in the cantons of Uri (centre) and one – Ticino (south).

Switzerland plans to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. In addition to the new PSPP projects, construction of photovoltaic panels whose capacity according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) increased from 437 to 3,449 megawatts, i.e. almost eightfold, between 2012 and 2021, should play an important role in achieving this goal.


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Russian scientists developed new method for breaking oil-water emulsions

The scientists from the V.I. Vernadsky Institute of Geochemistry and Analytical Chemistry of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) developed a new method for breaking field oil-water emulsions into water and oil without specialised chemical agents. It helps to receive feedstock for downstream refining or for sales. The research outcomes are published in the Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering.

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April 2022