The Hydrogen Stream: New tech to reduce weight, costs of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles

  • Jul 23, 2021
  • PV Magazine

New York State-based fuel cell vehicle company Hyzon Motors announced it has developed a new onboard hydrogen storage system technology capable of reducing the weight and manufacturing cost of commercial vehicles powered by Hyzon’s hydrogen fuel cells. “The new patent-pending onboard hydrogen storage system technology integrates lightweight composite materials with the system’s metal frame. It has the potential to reduce the overall weight of the system by 43%, storage system costs by 52% and the required manufacturing component count by 75%, based on a single-rack system with capacity to store five hydrogen cylinders,” reads the note published on Thursday. The storage system can be configured to hold varying numbers of hydrogen tanks, from five to 10. The new technology has already been installed in pilot trucks in Europe and is expected to be deployed across all vehicles beginning in Q4 2021. The development of this technology was a cross-Atlantic collaboration between Hyzon Europe and Hyzon U.S., with the company planning to produce this new system in both its Rochester, NY, and Groningen, the Netherlands, facilities.

Indian government-owned oil and gas corporation IndianOil has announced it will build India's first green hydrogen plant at its Mathura refinery. “IndianOil has a wind power project in Rajasthan. We intend to wheel that power to our Mathura refinery to produce absolutely green hydrogen through electrolysis,” chairman Shrikant Madhav Vaidy commented on Friday. The company confirmed, however, its focus on petroleum refining and marketing. The company wants to add 25 million tonnes of refining capacity by 2023-24. “As we see it, the green hydrogen will replace carbon-emitting fuels used in the refinery to process crude oil into value-added products such as petrol and diesel. Moreover, we have got several expansion plans down the line which are already approved. We will not have a captive power plant and will utilise power from the grid, preferably green power. This will help decarbonise some part of the manufacturing,” added Vaidy.

The Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO), an executive body of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, has awarded a subsidy of €3.6 million to PosHYdon. The project in the North Sea is reportedly the world's first offshore green hydrogen pilot on a working platform. “With this subsidy the consortium can start up all activities for this pilot. The remaining budget will be funded by the consortium partners,” reads a note released on Thursday. Electricity generated by offshore wind turbines will power the hydrogen plant on the platform for two processes: converting seawater into demineralized water and electrolysis of water to produce green hydrogen. The aim of the pilot is to gain experience in integrating working energy systems at sea. “In addition, in this project the efficiency of an electrolyzer with a variable supply from offshore wind will be tested, and at the same time knowledge and insights on the costs for the offshore installation as well as maintenance costs will be obtained. The green hydrogen will be mixed with the gas and transported via the existing gas pipeline to the coast. The 1 MW electrolyzer will produce a maximum of 400 kg of green hydrogen per day,” the consortium wrote. Nel Hydrogen, InVesta, Hatenboer, IV-Offshore & Energy, Emerson Automation Solutions. Nexstep, TNO, Neptune Energy, Gasunie, Noordgastransport, NOGAT, DEME Offshore, TAQA and Eneco are part of the consortium. On Friday, the consortium reported that Nel ASA had also joined the agreement for the PosHYdon project. The Oslo-based company will provide an MW-scale PEM electrolyzer for the project.

The University of Strathclyde in the United Kingdom will lead the £10 million research Ocean-REFuel project, which will explore ways of converting ocean energy into fuels for use in heating, energy storage, and difficult to decarbonize transport applications. The project will last for five years. It will include industrial partners like BP, Scottish Power, National Grid, and ENI “The news comes as the U.K. prepares to host COP26, the UN Climate Change Conference, in Glasgow and the consortium includes world-leading research teams from the Universities of Nottingham, Cardiff, Newcastle and Imperial College London,” reads the note released on Friday. British Minister for Energy Anne-Marie Trevelyan underlined the relevance of the offshore wind sector for hydrogen production. Meanwhile, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) presented its report “Offshore Renewables: An Action Agenda for Deployment”. Francesco La Camera, Director-General of IRENA, commented: “Offshore renewables have the potential to meet more than twenty times of today’s global power demand.”

The European Commission has approved a €507.5 million German Federal scheme to acquire climate-friendly commercial vehicles that will apply until the end of 2024. “The scheme is open to undertakings from all sectors and offers direct grants for three sub-measures: (i) a premium of maximum 80% of the price difference between a carbon-friendly (pure electrical, plug-in hybrid, or hydrogen/cell-fuelled) commercial vehicle and that of a comparable conventional diesel model meeting the highest applicable emission EU vehicle class (currently EURO 6/VI standards); (ii) a maximum of 80% of the investment costs for charging facilities for electric vehicles for use by the acquiring undertaking, which may be made available for public use; and (iii) a maximum of 50% of the costs of environmental studies. Aid will be based on a competitive bidding process,” reads the note released on Thursday. The German government wants to incentivize a switch to climate-friendly commercial vehicles, especially for transport companies.

Boston-headquartered Advent Technologies announced that it had been nominated by the Greek Ministry of Development and Investment to be part of the first wave of the European Union’s Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEI) on hydrogen. Advent will be spearheading the Green HiPo project meant to develop, design, and manufacture fully scalable and highly efficient high-temperature polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells for the production of power and heat. “Within seven years, Advent is set to support the full ramp-up to 400MW of renewable energy/electricity and 400MW of heat. The Green HiPo project will also create a manufacturing line of electrolyzers with a power level of 4.65GW,” reads the press release published on Thursday. Green HiPo is part of the €8 billion “White Dragon” plan for hydrogen technologies presented by leading Greek companies, intended to replace the lignite power plants of Western Macedonia.

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