ATLAS-H2 is an Industry-Academia Partnership on hydrogen storage in solid materials aiming to develop and test (in the short term) and bring to the market (in the medium to longer term) integrated advanced metal hydride tanks with high added value applications especially for stationary systems and hydrogen compression.

ATLAS-H2 is an attempt to adopt a holistic multidisciplinary transfer of knowledge approach, addressing key issues related to hydrogen storage in solid materials such as new materials and storage processes, novel compression systems and innovative hydrogen integrated applications, such as hybrid RES-H2 power systems.

Metal hydrides are feasible for various energy applications. They are often used for hydrogen storage itself or in electrochemical batteries, but metal hydrides are also suitable for compressors and thermodynamic machines6. Libowitz GG, Maeland AJ. Use of vanadium-based solid solution alloys in metal hydride heat pumps. Journal of the Less-Common Metals 1987;131:282–5.. As different metal hydrides have different physical properties, i.e., the absorption and desorption pressures and temperatures depend on the composition of the alloys, they can be conveniently tailored for certain applications.

Compression of hydrogen using reversible metal hydride alloys offers an economical alternative to traditional mechanical hydrogen compressors. Hydride compressors are compact, silent, do not have dynamic seals, require very little maintenance and can operate unattended for long periods, delivering hydrogen at high purity levels (99.999%). When powered by waste heat or solar heating, energy consumption is only a fraction of that required for mechanical compression, which reduces the cost of hydrogen production and storage. The simplicity and passive operation of the hydride compression process offers many advantages over mechanical compressors.

On the other hand, storing hydrogen without compression and energy losses is a challenge. Hydrides offer the best volumetric density for hydrogen storage far better than hydrogen storage in liquid state insulated reservoir or high pressure pressurized tanks. In a complete new process, thermal heat energy is stored within the metal hydride tank and is kept available for desorption with high insulating patented materials. The so called adiabatic metal hydride tanks are ideal for storing of Renewable Energy, power peak shaving to stabilize electricity grid distribution, waste heat valorisation, but also transport applications as these new ternary alloy hydrides can feed directly fuel cells.

The main ATLAS-H2 objectives of developing and evaluating at pilot scale tailor made metal hydride tanks for stationary applications and hydrogen compressors will be achieved by promoting and implementing a well structured IAPP program between (i) two academia partners (the Greek National Center for Scientific Research Demokritos, and the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique), with distinguished research activities in the areas of energy, environment, material science and engineering and (ii) two SME partners (McPHy Energy SA, France and Hystore Technologies Ltd, Cyprus) producing hydrogen storage materials and constructing novel pilot-scale hydrogen storage systems (tanks) and related instrumentation facilities. The strategic partnership will be realized through mutual exchange visits of several researchers from the two research institutes, who will be seconded to the two SME partners thus transferring and potentially transforming theoretical and experimental knowledge to an applicable level, in a view of solving real-life material development problems. These researchers will also absorb knowledge offered at the SMEs sites, especially on material upscaling and system level engineering aspects. Similarly, researchers and technical staff from the SME partners will be allocated to the two research institutes, thus promoting and enhancing an effective communication and technology transfer between research in academia and practical applications in the energy industry. Besides, newly recruited experienced researchers outside the partnership will be selected in order to reinforce the research and management potential of the whole consortium.

The long term objective of ATLAS-H2 is to support and promote initiatives for long lasting integration and collaboration between the partners and, more importantly, to contribute to the realization of the hydrogen economy in Europe by the development of novel hydrogen storage materials that can be optimally integrated with the developed storage process (tank) in order to explore potential synergistic benefits between material and process design.