Exclusive: Hydrogen the next big opportunity for Xebec

Exclusive: Hydrogen the next big opportunity for Xebec

Headquartered in Quebec, Canada, Xebec is a leader in providing solutions for gas purification and conditioning in the renewable energy and industrial space.

The core of its capabilities lies with its unique pressure swing adsorption (PSA) units which are based on proprietary rotary valve technology.

Currently seeing growth coming from the global demand for gas purification solutions for the biogas to renewable natural gas market, Dr. Prabhu Rao, Chief Operating Officer, sees hydrogen as the next big opportunity.

“Hydrogen is quickly emerging as a fuel or energy carrier, and the quality of this fuel is critical to the end-use applications,” he tells H2 View.

“Xebec PSA technology is a perfect solution; it plays a crucial role in purifying hydrogen from a variety of production sources like reforming, gasification, and electrolysis.”

“We’re fortunate to have a team with in-depth knowledge and many years of experience in the hydrogen business, and as this market expands, we will evaluate our position in the value stream.”

Here in an exclusive interview with H2 View, Rao discusses the potential of hydrogen as an energy storage solution, recent hydrogen-related projects and where his passion for hydrogen comes from.

Q. What hydrogen-related innovation, application or technology makes you most excited for the future?

The potential of hydrogen as an energy storage solution that can link our power and natural gas grids is exciting.

The injection of hydrogen into the natural gas pipelines as hydrogen or as syngas after methanisation provides a pathway to increase the penetration of renewable sources of energy into our electric grids and to do large scale energy storage and transport with our pipelines.

The implications of this development are very significant. Renewable hydrogen will open great business opportunities for companies like Xebec.

Q. What specific activities related to hydrogen are Xebec currently pursuing?

Our PSA technology and our dehydration products are currently used in many applications related to purifying or drying hydrogen as an industrial or energy product.

We are already the established leader in small scale PSA products used with steam methane reformers to produce hydrogen.

Over the last few years, we have been deploying our PSAs in purifying by-product hydrogen from various industrial sources to provide low-cost hydrogen.

Given the focus on fuel cells and hydrogen in China, this has been a good market for us, and we see great opportunity for by-product hydrogen purification.

The application that excites me most for the future is the use of our PSA systems in the purification of synthetic natural gas (SNG or syngas) from gasification plants.

Our rapid cycle or “fly-by-wire” PSA units are uniquely positioned to deal with the fluctuation of gasifier output, and we are looking forward to demonstrating this soon.

Q. Why such a passion for hydrogen?

Transportation is a major source of emissions of both criteria pollutants and CO2 emissions globally.

I believe strongly in the urgent need to transition to a zero emission, safe and sustainable fuel for our transportation industry.

Both battery electric and fuel cell vehicles have a role to play in this and will find their own applications.

I see hydrogen as a more sustainable fuel as it can be generated from natural gas today but ultimately from renewable power (solar, wind and hydro) and bio-feedstocks.

This makes hydrogen a more ‘permanent’ solution, and that is exciting to me.

Q. Finally, if you could describe the future of hydrogen in one sentence, what would you say?

Hydrogen is the last step in decarbonising our energy supply, and this transition is closer than you think!

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