THP-E33: Big Oil Touts Hydrogen To Reduce Carbon Emissions But Grappling With How To Make It A Reality. (They Have A Plan) And Two Companies Are Swiftly Becoming The Dominant Force In Commercial Hydrogen Transportation

July 29, 2021 • Paul Rodden • Season: 2021 • Episode: 33

Welcome to The Hydrogen Podcast!

In episode 033 , Big oil companies push hydrogen as a green alternative. Cummins and Air Products planned fleet conversion. And the green light has been given for the UK’s first hydrogen blend in public natural gas networks. All of this on today’s hydrogen podcast.

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Paul Rodden



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Big oil companies push hydrogen as a green alternative. Cummins and Air Products planned fleet conversion. And the green light has been given for the UK’s first hydrogen blend in public natural gas networks. All of this on today’s hydrogen podcast.

So the big questions in the energy industry today are, how is hydrogen the primary driving force behind the evolution of energy? Where is capital being deployed for hydrogen projects globally? And where are the best investment opportunities for early adopters who recognize the importance of hydrogen? I will address the critical issues and give you the information you need to deploy capital. Those are the questions that will unlock the potential of hydrogen and this podcast will give you the answers. My name is Paul Rodden, and welcome to the hydrogen podcast.

Big oil companies have long touted hydrogen industry as a way to reduce carbon emissions. Now they’re grappling with how to make that a reality. This according to The Wall Street Journal. BP, Royal Dutch Shell, and Total Energies are all pursuing multimillion dollar hydrogen projects often with government support, as they seek to redefine their future role in a world less reliant on hydrocarbons. Hydrogen made using renewable energy can be produced and used without emitting carbon dioxide. Still, experts say there are various hurdles to the light colorless gas fulfilling its potential. Firstly, most hydrogen today is made from hydrocarbons, primarily natural gas.

The challenge is to make it using renewable power instead, and produce it on an industrial scale in the hope of bringing down costs. Additionally, hydrogen is explosive as well as difficult to store and transport. Oil companies are pursuing green hydrogen, which they see is a longer term goal, while also looking at applying carbon capture technology to hydrocarbon based hydrogen production as a way to clean up the gas in the interim. At of the end of June, there were 244 large scale green hydrogen projects planned this according to the hydrogen Council, and that number is up more than 50% since the end of January. It estimates that 10s of billions of dollars has already been earmarked for hydrogen projects.

BP, for instance, is exploring the use of hydrogen to replace natural gas in industries such as steel, cement and chemicals, and also as a substitute for diesel and trucks. Overall BP forecasts hydrogen could account for about 16% of the world’s energy consumption by 2050. If net zero carbon emission goals are to be achieved up from less than 1% today, and like other major oil companies, BP thinks its existing expertise that already produces hydrogen refineries and infrastructure could help it win a sizable market share. Last year the company said it plan to use wind power to produce hydrogen for refinery in Germany, hoping to demonstrate the technology at large scale. However, BP doesn’t expect green hydrogen to be material part of its business until the 2030s. And it has yet to make a final investment decision on any new hydrogen projects.

It will take the time to create a market to bring down the cost. shale is also grappling with high costs. This month the company started up what it said was Europe’s largest green hydrogen plant to supply its Rhineland refinery in Germany. But that hydrogen is between five and seven times more expensive than hydrocarbon based product it predominantly uses according to Paul Bogers Shell’s vice president of hydrogen, he says you’re not in the money yet, for green hydrogen, the core belief is that you almost have to get to a world where electrons are free, and the industry is also getting government support. The European Union paid half the roughly $23 million cost of shells run on project and is earmarked funding for hydrogen as part of its pandemic recovery program. And here in the US, the Energy Department has said it aims to reduce the cost of green hydrogen by 80% to $1 per kilogram in the next decade, in part by supporting pilot projects.

Consultants and oil company executives say an interim step to reaching large scale green hydrogen production is to capture and store carbon generated by making hydrogen from natural gas to reduce emissions, making what is known as blue hydrogen. Critics of the hydrocarbon hydrogen or carbon has captured say the process is expensive, and that extracting and transporting natural gas often results in greenhouse gas leaks, meaning any hydrogen production likely won’t be zero carbon. And there are some US companies also pursuing hydrogen such as Chevron, who just signaled that it sees hydrogen having a role in transportation as an industrial feedstock and an energy storage. And this month, it partnered with engine maker Cummins to explore hydrogen infrastructure and fuel cell vehicles following a similar agreement in April with carmaker Toyota.

And speaking of Cummins, they’ve partnered with Air Products to accelerate hydrogen integration and fuel cell trucks this According to an article in Yahoo Finance. What better way to transport hydrogen than a hydrogen powered fuel cell truck? That’s what engine and power company Cummins and Air Products, the world’s largest producer of hydrogen, are planning for about 2000 trucks that Air Products uses globally. The company signed a memorandum of understanding that should see the first demonstration units on the road by 2022. Air product supplies and transports hydrogen, Cummins will provide the fuel cell electric power trains integrated into selected manufacturers heavy duty trucks. Cummins announced in November of 2020, there was integrating a fuel cell system into a Navistar international class eight truck for Werner enterprises.

According to Seifi Ghasemi Air Products Chairman, President and CEO, we believe hydrogen is the future for heavy duty segments of the transportation market. And we can demonstrate to the world its merits by being a first mover and transitioning our heavy duty fleet of trucks to hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles. Nothing says more about our company’s approach to sustainability than a fleet of zero emission vehicles on the road delivering products to customers every day. And Cummins, which is providing fuel cells for passenger trains in Germany, showed a demonstration fuel cell truck at the North American commercial vehicle show in October of 2019.

The company has acquired several fuel cell related businesses in recent years, adding to its ability to develop the power trains along with it’s better known capabilities in diesel engines. According to Tom Linebarger, Cummins, Chairman and CEO, this is another turning point for hydrogen in the energy transition. As we develop the technologies of tomorrow, we need the partnership of others to be successful in this partnership with their products is the next step and leading the industry on a path to a zero emission future.

Cummins and Air Products will also work together to make renewable hydrogen more accessible. According to Eric Guter Air Products Vice President for hydrogen and mobility solutions. Only hydrogen fuel cell vehicles can provide the necessary range refueling time and weight requirements to decarbonize this important transportation sector, Cummins powers hundreds of zero emission battery electric and fuel cell powered buses around the world. The company makes proton exchange membrane electrolyzers and has deployed more than 2000 fuel cells and 600 electrolyzers globally.

According to Amy Davis, president of the New Power division at Cummins, the best way to promote the adoption of hydrogen for mobility in heavy duty applications is for us to have units on the road and lead by example, the semi truck market is a major opportunity for hydrogen due to its rigorous requirements. And lastly, the green light has been given for UK’s first hydrogen blend in public natural gas networks is according to A village in northwest England is to receive a 20% hydrogen blend for 10 months and what the local gas distributor describes as a groundbreaking green energy trial. Winlaton will next month become the first community in the UK to receive a hydrogen blend the public hydrocarbon gas network and what is the second phase of the 22.5 million pound high deploy project which is being delivered by a consortium including gas distributors, Northern gas networks, and Cadence and electrolyzer maker ITM power.

The first phase of this project saw 100 homes and about 30 commercial buildings on a private network at Keele University in northwest England use a hydrogen blend for 18 months, according to NGN 668 homes, a school and some small businesses and when Winlaton will receive the blend after having all their gas appliances tested. This will be Europe’s fourth hydrogen blending project, with previous successful trials in the Netherlands, Germany and France. This according to NGN. Natural gas appliances in the UK can handle up to 23% hydrogen without requiring adaptation. But problems would emerge if the hydrogen volume was increased beyond that.

Alright, that’s it for me, everyone. If you have any questions, comments or concerns about today’s episode, come and visit my website at and let me know I would really love to hear from you. And as always, take care. Stay safe. I’ll talk to you later.

Hey, this is Paul. I hope you liked this podcast. If you did want to hear more, I’d appreciate it if you would either subscribe to this channel on YouTube, or connect with your favorite platform through my website at Thanks for listening. I very much appreciate it. Have a great day.

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