A holistic view on hydrogen production performance


We’d like to introduce you to Eddy Van Oort, Senior Systems Engineer in Hystar. Having worked in the hydrogen industry for a while, he knows the importance of taking a holistic view when it comes to hydrogen production, and he’s here to tell us more about it.

By definition, ‘holistic’ refers to the study of something as a whole and not just the sum of its parts. When it comes to hydrogen production, this means everything (and everyone!) involved working together in order to achieve the “best” hydrogen system. Let’s dive into that a bit more…

There is an enormous amount of interaction between the technology within the stack (the “inside”) and the way that technology is used in operation, or its application within the system (the “outside”). As Eddy explains, without taking a holistic view, there’s a risk that design choices resulting in the cheapest and most efficient approach on the stack level might not result in the cheapest and most efficient hydrogen system overall.

If we want to deliver the ideal solution for our customers (and obviously we do!), it’s important to understand the customer’s requirements – the “outside” demands. At the same time, we also need to understand the parameters that play a key role in making our core technology the “best of the best” at the stack level, or “inside.” Taking each of those perspectives together, we can design a system that caters beautifully to both.

Creating the perfect system

When it comes to hydrogen production systems, one size definitely does not fit all. As Eddy points out, “There is no single definition of ‘best’ hydrogen production systems. The definition varies between different types of operators, infrastructure, and ways of operating the system. The key is to find the right balance between the ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ focus.”

Taking a holistic view means validation and verification during each step of the development process. For Hystar, we are always aiming to increase our innovation and development potential, and one of the ways we’re doing that is through utilizing digital twin technologies, which is a key enabler of taking a holistic view. As a first step, we build and test our digital models. Based on those tests, we can fine tune and get an overview of the expected real-life behaviour of the stack and system, enabling us to find that perfect balance.

The way forward

Large-scale hydrogen production plants running on hydropower have been around in Norway for nearly a century. While society has been spoiled with cheap fossil fuel energy since the middle of the 20th century, that’s not something we can rely on going forward if we’re going to meet the climate targets outlined in the Paris Agreement. It’s time to look once more to green hydrogen, especially as it’s already proven to be possible. At Hystar, we’re looking forward to playing our part to make this happen (again!). All while taking a holistic view, of course.