The location of the CLEARgen site is in Martinique, oversea territory of France. This territory is part of France and Europe and so it follows of regulation and rules of Europe.
The limited company of the Antilles refinery, abbreviated SARA, is a company that owns a refinery in Martinique, as well as hydrocarbon deposits in Guadeloupe and Guyana:
The refinery is generating a large amount of by-product hydrogen and is investing in renewable energy projects such as solar, bioethanol, green water and large battery bank.
HDF proposed to implement the CLEARgen Demo project into the refinery of SARA which accepted. SARA is also the only investor of the project through the acquisition of a 100% stake in Aquipac (becoming SARAPAC) and the fundings of additional costs of the project.
SARA employs 260 people on Martinique, Guadeloupe and French Guyana and more than 200 of them are located on the site of the refinery.
SARA had just created a new department in charge of new energy projects. Several projects have already been launched as, for example, the solar power plant close to the refinery or reverse osmosis to desalination treatment of the water.
Whole system concept
The project uses some of the by-product hydrogen co-produced in the refinery process. This hydrogen must be purified before being injected into the fuel cell where it then reacts with the oxygen of the air to produce water and electricity.
The rejection of the purification system is sent back to the fuel gas network of the refinery where the hydrogen was initially routed. The system therefore does not modify refinery emissions while producing additional electricity.
The quantity of available hydrogen is variable and taking into account the performance of the PSA, the overall system put in place makes it possible to operate the fuel cell from 1 MW net of power to 55% at equivalent full load.
Integration in the refinery
Some of the facilities (OSBL) are directly located in the existing refinery units to connect to the various networks needed (hydrogen, fuel gas, compressed air, flare).
The project's own site (located within the refinery) includes the fuel cell, the PSA (purification) and a platform that houses two vessels in and out of the PSA and various equipment (air coolers, purge pot, valves , etc.).
The complete engineering of the project was carried out.
The main difficulties concern
• The integration of the PSA both from the point of view of connections to the refinery network and risk studies;
• Civil engineering where the strong constraints of the site (seismic and wind) combined with faulty network detections led to significant delays in the project.
It should be noted that despite the "first in kind" aspect no particular problem has been encountered in the integration of the fuel cell system.
The construction site and erection of different equipment occur during the year 2019. The commissioning is planned on November 2019.
For information, new racks into the refinery are painted in blue; racks on the site of CLEARgen Demo are in grey.