Testing fuel quality, performance, and safety

In this evolving competition design, teams will demonstrate a green fuel lifecycle that is sustainable, cost-effective, and efficient at scale — thus delivering green fuels that can decarbonize the hardest-to-abate sectors of the modern economy, providing the developing world with access to clean energy, and facilitating a transition to full electrification.

What in its composition must a fuel be tested for before being transferred to its destination and consumed?

What key parameters should the fuel analysis cover to evaluate fuel quality, estimate performance, efficiency, and other interactions throughout the lifecycle (incl. any emissions that result from conversion processes)?

Is there a globally recognized testing framework or standards that can be applied to a wide variety of green fuels (including carbon-based and nitrogen-based fuels)?

Is there a testing lab you’d recommend us to speak with?

Hi @Jesse_Nyokabi, @agval, @railman, @akb, @b0bbybaldi, @RegenTower, @carlbozzuto, @SonyaD, @Magneto, @gyyang, @rayw - Do you know of a testing framework or standards that can be applied to a wide variety of green fuels? What parameters of green fuels should be analyzed to evaluate fuel quality, estimate performance, safety and efficiency.

Hi Sashi,
In terms of ammonia, there isn’t any standard yet. Actually, we are working with the Ammonia Energy Association to set up the first standard for the fuel. Similarly, many other fuels that are still in development have not standard. This goes back to the questions of “how pure? what application? method of storage? etc.”. Companies working with ammonia are trying to follow some ISO standards for some conventional impurities, but apart from that there is still a long way to go.

Hi Shashi, There always problems with testing. If the company does it themselves, the results will always be queried. So what we do is pay for a recognised independent analysis company to do it for us and to issue a report which they will comfortably stand behind. There are three companies we choose from:- TUV of Germany; SGS of Switzerlnd; and BSI of the UK.
In the case of our Green Hydrogen production system we used TUV who selected to choose Soda water which contains CO2 Gas, but we allowed them to choose whatever quality of water they wanted. The result was our Green Hydrogen was 98.5% pure and we consumed all the CO2 in the Soda water as well. The remaining 1.5% was minerals from our Catalyst which was filtered out when the gas was released into containers for TUV’s detailed examination. So not only can we produce Green Hydrogen with our Catalyst but we can consume CO2 at the same time. However, we have not tested the limits of how much CO2 can be consumed each time. In all our own previous test that we carried out, the purity of the hydrogen was always in excess of 99% and when the H2 was burnt in a hydrogen adapted internal combustion engine the only emission was Clean Drinkable Water.

When the H2 was burnt in a hydrogen adapted internal combustion engine, what were the emission levels of NOx? @rayw


Thank you @rayw , who would you recommend speaking to at TUV to learn more? if you prefer, you can also email me eti.shechtman@xprize.org

@Shashi I would look at DOE’s & NREL’s standards for this. Other labs suggested here like UL or TUV would be good for a final product as a quality trademark, but they might not be the best place to start with for the actual chemistry regulation of said fuels.

Hydrogen combustion using conventional excess air levels doubles the flame temperature and produces high NOx levels. When IGCC was being promoted as a way to generate hydrogen for use in a combined cycle plant, the synthesis gas that was produced (CO plus H2) had to be diluted in order to meet the NOx levels with the best low NOx combustion technology available today. Of course, an SCR can be used to capture the NOx with the use of more ammonia than standard, so there is an extra cost, but it can be done. Estimates for ammonia combustion (and they are only estimates) indicated that an additional 2% of the ammonia used for combustion would be needed to capture the NOx in an SCR. There are combustion test facilities that can give an indication of performance for these fuels. CANMET is Canada has a combustion test facility that is well instrumented. The University of North Dakota Energy and Environmental Research Center also has good test facilities. GE obtained the former Alstom test lab in Windsor, CT that also has combustion test facilities. BYU has some fundamental combustion experimental facilities. The real question is, “What type of equipment will be used to burn the fuel?”. Jet fuel has certain requirements for cleanliness that other applications do not. IC engines have their own specifications. Heating boilers are set up to burn #2 oil. Gas fired industrial boilers need a gas with a heating value near 1000 BTU/SCF. These are all different. Your competition has to specify what type of combustion equipment will be used to burn the fuel.

Thanks @agval, @rayw, @akb, @b0bbybaldi and @carlbozzuto for sharing these insights. These details are very helpful. We have taken a note of it and will get back to you with more questions if required. Thanks.

Hi Carlbozzuto, I am in agreement with your comment but as part of our production process we control the temperature of the chemical reaction [this is part of our patent] and we can also control the pressure which we limit to 150Bar. The result is a very clean Green Hydrogen following the filtering of a small, usually 1% of minerals, left over from our catalyst.

Hi @AAM_AAU, @cananacar, @massimoguarnieri, @SPSBadwal, @Zita, @MarianoMM, @PhilDeLuna, @zhangx, @echomann, @clabeaux - Is there a testing framework or standard for green fuels? What parameters of green fuels should be analyzed to evaluate fuel quality, estimate performance, safety and efficiency.

Shashi, Our experience of TUV is that they decide who within their organisation will be undertaking the testing once they have all details quantified.

Thanks @rayw for the details. If we want to get in touch with TUV to know more details on testing parameters etc, whom should we get in touch with. Also, is there a possibility for you to connect Eti, who is our Research Lead to the concerned person in TUV.

Thank you @carlbozzuto for clarifying that burning hydrogen in air can produce emissions of NOx.

People often overlook this fact. It is a consequence of the high temperature of combustion and the presence of nitrogen and oxygen in air - rather than the fuel itself.

So an XPRIZE challenge might be wise to consider the merits of combustion (given the associated pollution challenge) versus using a fuel cell (with no pollutant emissions). Of course nothing is perfect and different life-cycle impacts might arise from the manufacture or end of life processing of fuel cell components - depending on the specific technologies, chemicals and resource derivation. [Personally, I think a push to end most combustion processes might be a good strategy.]

There are methods to control the quantity of emissions from combustion, but this might be at the expense of another factor (e.g. efficiency, or some life-cycle impact).

Hi Shashi. TUV Germany. We use the local TUV office to our R&D centre which was not in Germany, who then communicate with their Germany based HQ. Then we are informed by the local office whom to expect to undetake the work. You will be directed to the appropriate departments once they know your requirements.

@carlbozzuto Thank you for your insightful comments; we are currently researching and shortlisting the target end-uses and conversion technologies; generally thinking to benchmark to diesel to enable demonstration of all functions (combustion, heat generation and electrification) per the hard-abate-sector most associated with each and the relevant, dominant conversion technology. This is the approach at a high level, and any feedback is much appreciated. I’ll also prepare a post with more detail and notify you. Best, Eti

@Shashi also look into what they have done in Brazil with Ethanol, in Germany with BioDiesel and even the oil industry with the Ethanol additives, those working use cases are probably the best place to start for this endeavour.

Hi @RenewableNexus, @nibizijeanmarie, @mounir, @Febbie, @marcelschreier, @mikelandmeier, @lauramatrax - Do you know of a testing framework or standard for green fuels? What parameters of green fuels should be analyzed to evaluate fuel quality, estimate performance, safety and efficiency. Thanks.

This is a really interesting point, and one I have not heard considered. I know there are standards for car fuel, however a more encompassing standard to measure green fuels should be explored in more context, assuming nothing else exists. I believe it is important to encompass the whole lifecycle taking account of embodied impacts. This is when you can really inform change, as it is pointless to make one part of the process efficient when there could be inefficiency within the embodied supply of the product. A cradle to grave evaluation should be considered as part of any framework.

I used to work for the Building Research Establishment (BRE.co.uk) where they have some of the world testing experts. Energy efficiency, testing and life cycle analysis of products and processes is something they excel at, so I would definitely consult with them on this topic. I can make introductions to the individuals who would be able to identify a robust measurement framework in this area as they work across all industry sectors.