15.04.2024 by Aileen Sammler

H2SECURE Concept: NETZSCH Now Analyzes Under Hydrogen Atmosphere

STA 449 Analysis Instruments Series with New Equipment

In a world increasingly focused on sustainability and green technologies, hydrogen (H2) plays a pivotal role. It is emerging as a bearer of hope for green solutions ranging from energy production to mobility.

Why Hydrogen?

As a reactant in industry, hydrogen offers considerable potential for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, replacing fossil fuels and enabling a more flexible, sustainable energy supply. This makes the use of hydrogen in industrial processes very attractive compared to other gases.

Hydrogen also Harbors Risks

H₂ is an odorless and colorless, highly reactive gas that can have an explosive effect in air at room temperature at a concentration of just 4 %. This lower explosion limit also decreases with increasing temperature (e.g. 1.5 % at 400 °C). To fully harness the potential of hydrogen, we must understand how it interacts with the materials that make up our world. This is precisely where NETZSCH steps in, now offering an option for hydrogen research through thermal analysis.

Hydrogen in Metallurgy and Chemistry

Imagine being able to produce steel without releasing vast amounts of CO2 into our atmosphere: One area of application is the use of hydrogen to reduce high CO2 emissions from metallurgical processes through direct reduction. Metals are rarely found in their pure form; they are often contaminated with oxygen or sulfur, from which they must be separated. This process allows for the production of high-quality and ultra-pure metal powders. When hydrogen is used instead of carbon (C) from coal as a reducing agent, CO2 emissions are reduced, and the reduction time is shortened. Hydrogen can also be used as a raw material for generating process heat in the steel, metal and chemical industries:

Hydrogen as an Energy Storage Medium

Another research focus is to improve the efficiency and practicability of chemical hydrogen storage systems, for example metal hydrides, for mobile and stationary applications. Scientists are working on improving the volumetric and gravimetric capacities, the adsorption/desorption kinetics of hydrogen and the service life of potential materials. These offer a way to store hydrogen safely and efficiently, whether in vehicles or as part of the energy network.


NETZSCH STA 449 Series Now Also for Analysis Under Hydrogen Atmosphere

The STA is one of the most flexible analytical instruments in the NETZSCH portfolio. Users can select from among various types of furnaces, sensors, sample carriers, thermocouples, crucibles and other accessories. Along with simultaneous recording of weight changes, simultaneous thermal analysis allows for the determination of melting points, phase transformations in the solid state, enthalpies and even specific heat – all in one sample under exactly the same measurement conditions. Special furnaces can also enable measurements under humid atmospheres, certain corrosive conditions, or even at highest temperature range.

Especially for the STA 449 instrument series, NETZSCH has now developed the H2Secure concept for measurements and analyses under a hydrogen atmosphere!

H2Secure for Safe Measurements in Reducing and Oxidizing Atmospheres

H2Secure is the complete solution for experiments in variable hydrogen environments while maintaining the highest possible safety standards. This innovative concept allows for research in pure hydrogen atmospheres as well as in reduced H2 environments – diluted with non-flammable gases such as nitrogen (N2) or argon (Ar). This flexibility is achieved through a comprehensive safety concept built into the system.

A key feature of H2Secure is the ability to seamlessly perform complex oxidation and reduction cycles. Within a single measurement, the system can switch between hydrogen-rich and oxygen-rich environments, allowing precise investigation of reaction kinetics and material behavior under different conditions.

When analyzing with hydrogen, safety is of top priority. The H2Secure safety concept is based on the following four pillars: 

Figure: The H2Secure Safety Concept consists of four components

The H2Secure safety concept:

  1. The maximum volume of H2 in the instrument is precisely defined. The hydrogen enters at the top of the furnace and fills a defined space that is limited at the bottom of the furnace by the continuously purged balance chamber.
  2. The gas outlet is also located at the bottom of the furnace. The concentrations of H2 and O2 in the outlet gas are continuously measured for safe handling.
  3. The readings are processed by the central communication unit, the H2Secure Box, which in turn regulates the gas flows to the instrument based on predefined safety limits and opens or closes valves accordingly
  4. In the event of a malfunction, such as a power failure, the solenoid valves open, releasing an inert gas that removes the hydrogen from the system.

The sample and the experimental setup are purged with an inert gas between the phases. This purging process is continued until a safe condition for gas exchange is achieved, significantly reducing the risk of handling hydrogen or oxygen.

All information about hydrogen research by thermal analysis, measurement examples and details about the H2Secure safety concept can be found in our flyer.

The ability to accurately and safely perform thermal analysis in a hydrogen atmosphere is critical to the further development and implementation of hydrogen technologies. NETZSCH offers a complete system for a safe operation of reduction and oxidation tests. The new H2Secure box paves the way for a more sustainable and environmentally friendly future. Of course, H2Secure can be retrofitted to accommodate your existing STA 449 Jupiter®at any time.

Interested? Further information and the contact to your regional NETZSCH representative can be found on our product website.

Learn more about H2Secure

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The new H2Secure concept live at ACHEMA

Visit us from June 10 to June 14 at the ACHEMA trade show in Frankfurt am Main, Germany! 

Meet us at our booth C2 in hall 12 to take a deeper look at the new H2Secure concept and to talk to our experts.

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