HyLICAL: Project start press release

HyLICAL Partners

This is an adapted version of the official HyLICAL project press release for the start of the project. The original version can be found on IFE’s website here.


The EU-project HyLICAL has been granted close to 5 million € from the Clean Hydrogen Partnership to significantly improve technologies for hydrogen liquefaction. This is the first hydrogen liquefaction prototype to be funded under the Clean Hydrogen Partnership.
Project title: Development and validation of a new magnetocaloric high-performance hydrogen liquefier prototype (HyLICAL). Project period: 2023 – 2027.

The joint venture with partners from nine European countries met for a kick-off in Brussels on January 27, 2023. The intended technology development will result in a substantial reduction in energy consumption, capital investment, and operating cost for hydrogen liquefaction, in addition to a safer and more sustainable storage of liquid hydrogen. The project will contribute to the green transition of industry and increase the potential to optimise utilisation of renewable energy sources (RES) in off-grid configurations. The project is supported by the Clean Hydrogen Partnership and its members.

This will be achieved from research and innovation on materials, design, simulation, construction, and testing of a liquefier in addition to work on safety, regulations, and roadmaps relevant for this technology. Thus, the enhanced research capacity developed by HyLICAL will benefit the scientific community, industry, policymakers, climate, and wider society. While SUBRA are an active member of the project as a whole, our primary tasks concern the design and simulation of a superconducting magnet system for the hydrogen liquefaction cryogenic system.

Liquefaction of hydrogen, as to be demonstrated in HyLICAL, will allow handling of large volumes of hydrogen, and will contribute to speed up the decarbonisation and development of a sustainable society. Liquid hydrogen (LH2) has 70% higher volumetric energy density than compressed hydrogen at 700 bar. This makes it attractive to transport LH2 and to store it in massive quantities, enabling transport of hydrogen by road or ship from both centralised and decentralised production plants to customers, or use of LH2 as an energy carrier in heavy duty mobility.

The project is coordinated by the Norwegian Institute for Energy Technology (IFE). 

Potential impact of the technology development:

  • Up to 50% reduction in energy consumption during liquefaction compared to conventional technology
  • Significant reduction in CAPEX and OPEX for liquefaction
  • Possibility of liquefying hydrogen in far smaller volumes than with current technology
  • Reduced boiling of hydrogen during storage
  • Eliminate the use of compressors which reduces the number of moving parts (reduced maintenance) and reduces noise
  • Reduced use of critical raw materials
  • Safer storage and transport of liquid hydrogen
  • More volume-efficient storage of liquid hydrogen
  • More sustainable transport and storage of liquid hydrogen
  • Increase the opportunities to utilise trapped power and power from RES
  • Increase the opportunity for sustainable local communities
  • Increased knowledge of magnetocaloric materials
  • More energy-efficient liquefaction and the possibility of having small-scale liquefaction plants will help to accelerate decarbonisation and the development of a sustainable society.

Potential to meet societal and industrial challenges

The HyLICAL project impacts society in several ways. The possibility to implement small-scale hydrogen liquefaction from RES opens for a more distributed hydrogen economy, than today’s technology that is suitable only for large volumes. As such, it can contribute to sustainability and growth in smaller communities by integrating e.g., locally generated wind, solar, or hydroelectric power into the production chain. Furthermore, the improved efficiency promised by the HyLICAL technology can be critical to lower the LH2 production cost sufficiently to make LH2 the preferred choice as an energy carrier in many areas of society, including the transport sector (marine and onshore), thus helping to achieve a less polluted environment with obvious health benefits. The major industrial challenge as of today is the high liquefaction cost and the CAPEX needed to make conventional liquefaction plants profitable due to the economy of scale. If the technology developed through HyLICAL succeeds in cutting the liquefaction cost in half, even small-to-medium sized liquefaction plants may become profitable thus allowing local hydrogen producers and end users to benefit from this technology. 

Availability of sustainable H2 – in particular in its highest volumetric energy-density form, LH2 – will give industry the possibility to utilise H2 as a CO2-free energy source or raw material in production processes. LH2 may also be used in long distance and local transportation (ships, buses, and trucks) as well as for storage of locally produced wind or solar energy. Since the proposed technology can be used for smaller-to-medium scale production, in addition to large scale, LH2 can then be produced, stored, and utilised locally. In addition, bridging the technology gap from gas storage to liquid storage, will create possibilities for industry to deliver complete systems for small-to-medium scale LH2-production to the world market. 

HyLICAL specifically addresses the following policy goals

UNSDG 3: Good health and well-being

Lowering air pollution, which has been linked with improved health outcomes, especially in children, the elderly and those living in poorer and more vulnerable communities.

UN Sustainable Development Goal 7
UNSDG 7: Affordable and clean energy

Reducing costs and increasing availability of LH2 worldwide for use in industry, transportation, and for energy storage and distribution processes.

UNSDG 8: Decent work and economic growth

Developing the hydrogen economy can provide critical jobs and opportunities for business creation.

UN Sustainable Development Goal 9
UNSDG 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure

Reducing the cost of LH2 will make its production and use more attractive for smaller communities.

UN Sustainable Development Goal 11
UNSDG 11: Sustainable cities and communities

Making LH2 easily available for use in public transportation, and energy balancing systems.

UNSDG 13: Climate action

Promoting a transfer to a society based on H2 as an energy carrier when grid power is not available, which will help eliminate CO2 emissions

Kick-off meeting with HyLICAL project partners in Brussels, January 27, 2023.

Keep up to date on the latest news and read more about the project on the dedicated HyLICAL website.