Process Design and Intensification


The group "Process Design and Intensification" is part of the department "Chemical Hydrogen Storage" of the Helmholtz Institute Erlangen-Nürnberg for Renewable Energy. Accordingly, we are primarily dealing with hydrogen storage in the form of liquid organic hydrogen carriers (LOHC). The main research focus of our group is an energy-efficient overall process for the provision of (highly pure) hydrogen. In particular, we are investigating ways to provide the enthalpy required for the endothermic dehydrogenation of LOHCs in order to overcome a key challenge of this type of hydrogen storage. For this, we focus on improving the overall process with an engineering/process technology-based approach, as well as making progress through process integration and process intensification strategies.

Research Topics

  • Catalytic hydrogen combustion to provide the reaction enthalpy needed for the LOHC dehydrogenation.
  • Coupling of an SOFC with the LOHC dehydrogenation aiming on the integration of the SOFC waste heat into the LOHC dehydrogenation reactor thus providing the required reaction enthalpy
  • Dehydrogenation of LOHCs in a reactive distillation column, where the reaction enthalpy of the dehydrogenation is provided by the heat of condensation
  • Vacuum pressure dehydrogenation of LOHCs aiming to remove the thermodynamic limitation of the reaction due to the reaction equilibrium at low temperatures
  • Autothermal dehydrogenation of LOHCs, characterized by providing the heat of reaction for the dehydrogenation by partial oxidation of the LOHC itself
  • Coupling of LOHC dehydrogenation with an electrochemical hydrogen compressor (EHC) with the goal of purifying and simultaneously compressing the released hydrogen
  • Development and testing of electrochemical cells (FC and EHC) for the dehydrogenation of LOHCs (at the moment mostly in the form of isopropanol)
  • Selective separation of hydrogen from a natural gas grid used for gaseous hydrogen storage with an EHC
  • Reactor characterization (residence time, hold-up) and measurement of kinetics


Timo Schaerfe


Building HIERN-Cauerstr / Room 4011

+49 9131-12538135



Last Modified: 08.07.2024