12 October 2022

Kiwa opens new hydrogen plant in Cheltenham

Kiwa has recently opened a new hydrogen production plant in Cheltenham. The plant and technology demonstration site is linked to Kiwa’s new test labs by the UK’s first low pressure hydrogen distribution pipeline, operated under the Gas Act 1986. The ability to connect to a continuous flow of odourised 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 producing 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 security of supply to customers.

Biogas reformed to hydrogen gas

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 capacity for 62.3 kg or 2,074 kWh of hydrogen storage, which could be expanded to 267.7 kg at 30 bar pressure.

Upgraded testing facilities

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.

Pipeline quality hydrogen

The Kiwa team has designed and managed the build of the hydrogen production plant, which involves steam methane reforming of locally produced syngas from a biogas source, and the conversion of Kiwa’s labs to use piped hydrogen. The Kiwa UK upgraded lab is effectively the first to be fed by plentiful supply of low carbon and low-cost pipeline quality, odorised hydrogen to facilitate business growth, research, and development.

Useful inputs

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.

Kiwa and hydrogen

Would you like to know more about the services Kiwa offers in the field of hydrogen? Please have a look at the Hydrogen Revolution page.

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Photo: Project Engineer Dr. Leighton Holyfield and Project Manager Georgina Orr from Kiwa.