Portugal-based PRF Gas Solutions (PRF) is no stranger to creating innovative solutions for the industrial gas sector.
The past year has seen the company move from strength to strength in supplying renewable and low carbon-based technology, such as its DRHYVE hydrogen refuelling station and MOOV, which provides refuelling for liquefied natural gas (LNG)-powered vehicles.
In an exclusive Q&A with PRF’s Business Developer, Manuel Fonseca, gasworld was given access to the company’s 2022 ambitions, its highlights for the year so far, and its Christmas wish for the industry.
gasworld (GW): Could you please tell us more about PRF and its role in the global industrial gases sector?
Manuel Fonseca (MF): PRF Gas Solutions is a 30 year old company focused on technology, engineering, construction, operation and maintenance of all types of equipment and infrastructure for the fuel gas sector, from gas transportation, distribution and utilisation networks, regulating stations, natural gas and hydrogen vehicle refuelling stations, regasification plants for supplying cities or industries that are outside the gas pipeline networks, to renewable energy projects.
GW: What’s been the most exciting application or growth driver for the company this year?
MF: Definitely the launch of DRHYVE – the first portable hydrogen refueling station in Portugal.
The DRHYVE station was entirely designed, developed and built in Portugal by PRF. It is the first of many refuelling stations for hydrogen that PRF intends to build like the numerous CNG/LNG units designed, developed and built by PRF around the world.
This new hydrogen refuelling station, is installed in the city of Cascais, Portugal, and is currently supplying two buses, also nationally manufactured (built by Caetano Bus) and you should be aware that the main characteristics of the DRHYVE, such as storage, compressor type and compressor flow rate can be changed according to customers’ requirements to suit their needs.
GW: How much emphasis is being placed by PRF on the energy transition and related hydrogen technology for 2022?
MF: This phase of energy transition that we are beginning to experience also brings PRF a set of opportunities that, we believe, we were able to take advantage of. We were able to identify the market needs, we were able to identify the opportunity, we created the structure, we created the skills, three years ago we created an area only dedicated to hydrogen projects, we have trained people, we have created in-house capacity to respond to market needs and we are sure that, in a very near future, the vast majority of PRF’s activity will focus, with absolute certainty, in the area of renewable gases.
For us, the focus on the development of the hydrogen solution is of extreme importance. In fact, it will be so important that we think that no one is questioning its introduction and development in the market anymore. We need to change consumption habits and the way we deal with the environment.
In our perspective we see this bet as an immense opportunity, perhaps unrepeatable, because we will have high financial support from the European Union to develop a real hydrogen cluster, and thus create wealth for the country. Several companies will certainly be created and employment will necessarily rise in this sector. Basically, the creation of a hydrogen cluster will significantly help boost the entire national economy, also allowing to reduce energy imports, producing domestically and in a cleaner and more sustainable way.
GW: What are three highlights for the company in 2021?
MF: First of all, the fact that we have celebrated 30 years of activity, based on the values we have embraced since day one: the values of Ethics, Rigor, Solidity, Innovation and Dedication to the Customer, that have always guided our activity, and it is precisely these values that we want to maintain in the future and in everything we do.
In second, of course, and as said before, the launch of the first portable HRS built in Portugal – DRHYVE and, last but not least, the launch of MOOV, our innovative solution of mobile station for LNG refueling. This new concept is nothing more than an LNG station with the same technical characteristics as a standard LNG station, but where all the components are installed on top of a semi-trailer and, therefore, besides dispensing with civil works and the contracting of lifting gear, it is very easy and flexible to install, since the filling unit, when moved from the semi-trailer at the place of installation, can be installed in various configurations in accordance with what is most convenient for the end customer. This is made possible by the fact that MOOV is supplied with flexible vacuum-insulated piping and quick-fit electrical plugs, which greatly facilitates installation, enabling it to be carried out in less than two hours.
GW: Is there anything you’re looking forward to in the industrial gas sector for 2022?
MF: The fuel gas industry is undoubtedly going through challenging times, but clearly also great opportunities. Regardless of the challenges, we believe that the opportunities that renewable gases bring to this industry are far greater than any threats.
We are certain that with all the framework and all the opportunities that are created for the development of the renewable gases industry, we know that, in the very near future, part of our energy matrix will certainly be based on renewable gases.
At PRF we are very aware of all this energy transformation that we will all have to do, we are very aware of the issues of decarbonisation and we know that it will bring many opportunities for the gas industry and especially for PRF.
We know that the gas industry is undergoing a sea change. We believe that the paradigm of this industry, or the fuel industry in general, may even be changing itself, with the ease and competitiveness of local production, close to the places of consumption, of renewable energies or even renewable gases, such as hydrogen, we know that the paradigm of energy consumption and use may change and, at PRF, we are prepared to operate this change.
For PRF in particular, we expect to continue to develop several projects in this area, and in addition to the mobility projects, we are looking forward to starting the Green Pipeline Project in January. This pilot project, a pioneer in Portugal, aims to produce green hydrogen from photovoltaic solar energy, which will later be injected into a natural gas distribution network and aims to test the behavior of domestic and industrial equipment when using the mixture of natural gas and green hydrogen.
GW: In the spirit of the time of year and theme of the series, if you could make one Christmas wish for the industrial gases and gas sensing sector, what would it be and why?
MF: We know that the actions the world takes today will be crucial to creating a sustainable energy system, ensuring an environmentally beneficial energy transition. Following the Paris Agreement, our wish is for this path to be accomplished as soon as possible. There is no planet B.
At PRF we believe that the energy transition will not be made at the expense of just one type of energy, but that the future will be an energy mix, with a strong focus on renewable gases and we at PRF are prepared to provide our customers with solutions, and wish to continue to work with our clients and develop projects, aiming to leverage the decarbonisation of the industrial and business sector and promote a paradigm shift in the use of resources.
From everyone in PRF, we wish the gas community a Merry Christmas and a New Year full of prosperity and success and…Move with us towards a GREENER future!