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UNIFHY is a 43-month collaborative research project started on September 1st 2012 with a total budget of €3.3M (€2.2M EC Grant, €1.1M own Partners funding). The UNIfHY consortium includes nine Partners (four Higher Education Institutions, four Industrial companies, one Research organization) from four Member States (France, Germany, Italy and Netherlands). All the partners of the consortium are directly involved in activity fields at the core of the expertise. In fact the new project coordinator Marconi University (USGM), ENEA , Sapienza University (CIRPS-DIMA) former project’s coordinator and L’Aquila University (UNIVAQ) have all the necessary expertise, laboratories and facilities (gasifiers at bench, pilot and industrial scale) meanwhile Université De Strasbourg (UNISTRA) has the necessary expertise on catalyst, sorbents and relatives processes.
Moreover the university partners have already worked together in many previously successful projects, like the last UNIQUE project, so the results of previous projects are here exploited and the capability of work improved. Finally CIRPS-DIMA and USGM, UNIVAQ, UNISTRA and ENEA have different and complementary skills: Aquila is specialized on fluidised bed reactor, CIRPS-DIMA and USGM on the global process modelling, UNISTRA on the detailed process and materials analysis, ENEA on the applied research. Thus CIRPS-USGM has the responsibility of his pilot scale 100 kW gasifier (in the WP4) and the global modelling (WP6); UNIVAQ has the responsibility of the gasifier bench test (in the WP2), UNISTRA has the responsibility of WP2 owing to the importance on process and materials analysis in this WP (Catalyst and sorbent), ENEA has the responsibility of his industrial scale 1000 kW gasifier (WP5). At these well balanced and experienced research entities are connected well balanced and experienced companies. In particular Pall Filtersystems (PALL) is global leader in the manufacturing of different porous ceramic media so his ability to realize ceramic candles, ceramic foams and WGS reactor is unquestionable. In similar way HyGear is specialized in realizing Portable Purification Unit meanwhile EPC is specialized on the large Engineering and Procurement of power plants and components and (Air Liquid) ALAB is the world leader in gases and owns and operates more than 60 hydrogen/syngas production plants worldwide. Finally all the main activities have an industrial involvement to ensure exploitation of the results. Catalyst, Sorbent and reactors activities have the involvement of PALL to ensure the commercial exploitation on the use of the ceramic candles and the WGS reactors. The Portable Purification Unit and the test on pilot scale have the involvement of HyGear to ensure the commercial exploitation of this portable unit. The industrial scale activities have the involvement of EPC and ALAB to ensure the commercial exploitation on the system at industrial scale and the integration of the system in the hydrogen filling stations. In detail the project is aimed to develop a biomass steam gasification process coupled to syngas purification to produce pure hydrogen from biomass, increase well-to-tank efficiency and contribute to a sustainable energy portfolio, exploiting results obtained in past R&D EU projects on hot gas catalytic conditioning. The project is based on the utilization of plant components of proven performance and reliability and well established processes (UNIQUE coupled gasification and hot gas cleaning and conditioning system, Water-Gas Shift, WGS, system and Pressure Swing Adsorption, PSA, system). Thus UNIfHY concept can tackle outstanding reliability targets: up to 20 years durability with availability >95%. The overall scope of UNIfHY is the integration of these components to obtain a continuous process for pure hydrogen production from biomass. .