- At the Colruyt Group site in Halle (Belgium) a unique European project, covering two types of electrolysers(alkaline and PEM), two types of compressors (centrifugal and membrane), a fuel cell system and a dispenser, has been realised and demonstrated.
- The hydrogen produced by the Don Quichote-system is a strong example of sector-coupling, connecting green electricity with hydrogen production, used for logistics (material handling equipment), mobility (cars, trucks) and power (fuel cell, grid services).
- The demonstration is successfully integrated in an existing ‘distribution centre’, resulting in knowledge/experience on permitting procedures and safety regulations in operation.
- The connection of the fuel cell to the power grid, in order to be able to deliver grid services, has been approved by the local electric utility.
- A high share of renewable electricity is crucial for environmental benefits of using hydrogen as energy carrier: this is the case at the Colruyt site where >80% of the used electricity for hydrogen has been produced by wind and solar.
- Benchmarking of ‘mature’ alkaline electrolyser with ‘first of a kind’ PEM electrolyser showed already a higher efficiency of the PEM towards the alkaline electrolyser.
- PEM-electrolyser technology is evolving rapidly: during the timeframe of Don Quichote, the need for precious metal catalyst already reduced by 50%.
- The Life cycle analysis (LCA) results of both electrolysers are clearly dominated by the utilisation grade (full load operating hours, lifetime, electricity consumtion, source of electricity).The comparison of the life cycle results reveals benefits for the PEM electrolyser due to the lower specific electricity consumption during the utilisation and better LCA results for the manufacturing of the system.
- An upscaling exercise for Belgium, Germany and Iceland learned that at sufficiently large scale, hydrogen will be able to compete with fossil fuels in the near term – given that fossil fuels will pay for environmental impact caused by their use.
- TCO calculations within the Don Quichote project learned that the hydrogen cost is still high for a small installation with a low utilisation factor, but at a higher load and scale, the TCO can be optimised to a level that enables a positive business case in combination with the material handling case.
- The GreenHouse Gas (GHG) emissions of the demonstrated alkaline and PEM electrolyser are below the threshold of 36.4 g CO2eq/MJ (www.certifhy.eu) when using 100% electricity from renewable energy sources (i.e. from wind turbine and/or PV panels). This is the case at the Colruyt site were electricity is produced by e.g. solar, wind.
- Don Quichote received worldwide attention by delegations coming from Europe, United States, China and Japan.
- After ending the European financial support, the built hydrogen infrastructure will be continued in operation and will be expanded, with increased capacity (+ 30 Nm³/h) of the electrolyser, the storage, a significant
- increase of the material handling fleet (75 forklifts, indoor dispensing) and an additional possibility for 700 bar public fuelling (in the framework on the Interreg project ‘Hydrogen Region 2.0’).