THP-E73: Three Titans Band Together to Tackle Hydrogen Rail In The United States. Heavy Duty Trucking Keeps Delivering And Germany’s Green Party Is Going Turquoise

December 16, 2021 • Paul Rodden • Season: 2021 • Episode: 73

Welcome to The Hydrogen Podcast!

In episode 073, Hyzon Motors going big on their heavy duty truck delivery, Caterpillar announcing some big news in rail lines. And Germany is liking what they’re seeing in turquoise hydrogen, all of this on today’s hydrogen podcast.

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Paul Rodden



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Hyzon Motors going big on their heavy duty truck delivery, Caterpillar announcing some big news in rail lines. And Germany is liking what they’re seeing in turquoise hydrogen, 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 in this podcast will give you the answers. My name is Paul Rodden, and welcome to the hydrogen podcast.

In a press release on December 8, Hyzon motors a leading supplier of zero emission hydrogen fuel cell powered commercial vehicles announced the delivery of 29 fuel cell trucks to be used by a major steel conglomerate in China through Shanghai hydrogen HongYun automotive company. The 49 ton trucks, which are delivered in November utilize 170 kilowatt fuel cell stack and are expected to haul steel coils and the conglomerates fleet in coming months. HongYun’s plans to provide operation leasing and maintenance services for industrial and municipal customers in targeted locations in China, which is expected to be a massive market for fuel cell technologies in the coming years. HongYun has further ordered 33 more trucks, which are confirmed with Hyzon each 49 ton truck is expected to eliminate an estimated 140 tons of co2 emissions per year over the course of the seven year expected lifespan of the vehicles. The initial order of trucks is expected to eliminate an aggregate of over 30,000 tons of co2 emissions.

According to Hyzon’s CEO Craig Knight Hyzon’s focus is on decarbonizing heavy transport today, we expect that this initial order will make an immediate environmental impact while also providing Hyzon the opportunity to continue enhancing capacity and expertise for future deployments across the globe. The steel industry is under intense scrutiny regarding their emissions, both manufacturing operations as well as logistics activities. We are here to take logistics out of that equation. Hydrogen which is converted to electricity through a fuel cell with no tailpipe emissions, powers the vehicle through fuel cells that are compact, powerful and uniquely suited for long haul and high utilization back to base transport. Hydrogen fuel tanks can be refilled in 15 minutes, approximately as fast as diesel tanks, a distinct advantage over battery electric vehicles that typically take multiple hours to recharge.

In fact, the US Clean Air Task Force estimates that the number of truckstops would need to increase eight fold if all US heavy vehicles transitioned to battery electric, while the existing infrastructure would suffice if the trucks instead operated on hydrogen. So more big news from Hyzon as they continue to meet demand for their fuel cell trucks. And this is just one of the many applications globally that a fuel cell heavy duty truck delivery system fits. And I very much expect to see many more similarities to this in the United States and Europe. So again, a big congratulations to Hyzon. Keep up the good work. And a huge announcement today December 14, that Caterpillar BNSF and Chevron agreed to pursue hydrogen locomotive demonstration projects.

This in a press release today December 14, progress rail which is a caterpillar company BNSF Railway Company, and Chevron, a subsidiary of Chevron Corporation today announced a memorandum of understanding to advance the demonstration of a locomotive powered by hydrogen fuel cells. The goal of this demonstration is to confirm the feasibility and performance of hydrogen fuel for use as a viable alternative to traditional fuels. For line haul rail. Hydrogen has the potential to play a significant role as a lower carbon alternative to diesel fuel for transportation, with hydrogen fuel cells becoming a means to reduce emissions. Under the MOU. The parties are working towards reaching definitive agreements on a demonstration with three primary objectives. First, progress Rail plans to design and build a prototype hydrogen fuel cell locomotive for line haul and or other types of rail service.

Second, Chevron expects to develop the fueling concept and infrastructure to support this use of locomotive. Lastly, the prototype of the hydrogen fuel cell locomotive is expected to be demonstrated on BNSF lines for a mutually agreed upon period of time. According to Joe Creed, Caterpillar Group President of energy and transportation. Caterpillar has made great strides in moving our advanced power technology forward. Our progress rail team will leverage that knowledge and experience For the hydrogen fuel cell locomotive, working with Chevron and BNSF, will allow us to advance hydrogen technology across the industry.

And in a quote from John Lovenburg, VP of environmental for BNSF. BNSF is pleased to collaborate with Chevron and Progress Rail and piloting locomotives powered by hydrogen fuel cells. This technology could one day be a lower carbon solution for line haul service, as it has the potential to reduce carbon emissions and remain cost competitive. And lastly, in a quote from Jeff Gustavson, president of Chevron new energies, Chevron is dedicated to scaling up its hydrogen business to help meet the needs of customers who want to reduce the lifecycle carbon emissions of their operations. Our work with progress rail and BNSF is an important step towards advancing new use cases for hydrogen and heavy duty transport as we seek to create a commercially viable hydrogen economy. Now, as previously announced, Caterpillar is collaborating with Chevron for the demonstration of hydrogen projects in transportation and stationary power applications.

The proposed demonstration project is subject to negotiations of definitive agreements with customary closing conditions, including regulatory approval. Now, if established additional details about the hydrogen locomotive demonstration, including where the pilot project will be taking place, and its timing will be released at a later date. Now, what’s funny about this announcement is the fact that I was just consulting with someone and this subject of rail transportation came up. And well, it seemed like Europe may have had the lead in this now we have three companies reaching an MOU for this exact thing. And of the large types of transportation networks, rail and shipping are the top two that could benefit the most from hydrogen fuel cells and their application. Now, there are a lot of pieces to this puzzle, including which rail lines to use the hydrogen development technology that’s going to be used to create the hydrogen, where the filling stations will be for the hydrogen and how that hydrogen is going to be stored on board.

Now all three companies are experts in their own right and in their own fields. But working collaboratively together, these three companies have the best shot of unlocking the hydrogen fuel cell applications for developing that hydrogen train market. And lastly, an article from Vera Eckert writes German gas industry wants funding for turquoise hydrogen. The author writes that on December 8, Germany’s national gas lobby called for 800 million euros or $902 million in sponsorship to build plants to turn natural gas into hydrogen and split off the polluting carbon in a test of the new government’s climate pledges. The government, which was sworn in on Wednesday has presented radical plans to step up climate protection efforts, raising questions whether they can be achieved in practice. The government’s energy goals demand alternatives to hydrocarbons and leave the door open for new technologies, such as a process to produce turquoise hydrogen that can avoid carbon emissions.

Turquoise hydrogen is produced by methane pyrolysis technology, which is in its infancy, but promising this according to some industry players, including Wintershall Dea, which works on pyrolysis with gas grid firm VNG majority owned by EnBW, and British firm Hiiroc based in Hull. The process breaks down methane and natural gas into a gaseous hydrogen inside a vacuum to obtain solid carbon, which can be used, for example, by pigment or tire makers and a quote from Timm Kehler chairman of Zukunft Gas gas lobby, the potential of turquoise hydrogen has not been sufficiently used in the past. The coalition’s open approach brings new possibilities. This he said referring to the new government in which the Green Party is a member of the pyrolysis method for hydrogen production sits alongside plans for electrolysis plants to produce green hydrogen that’s made by splitting water molecules with zero carbon, wind, solar or biomass power.

The government wants 10 gigawatts of electrolysis capacity by 2030. Killer said the 800 million euros could help build enough capacity to produce 90 terawatt hours per annum of turquoise hydrogen and could be raised partly from revenue the government collects from issuing mandatory carbon emission permits. The government’s target of 10 gigawatts of electrolysis would only yield 40 terawatt hours per year. But some environmental lobbies seeking to promote a faster more far reaching shift away from hydrocarbons via zero carbon electricity, a few initiatives to repurpose gas infrastructure for hydrogen merely as the hydrocarbon industry’s attempt to ensure its survival. Okay, so again, another article with large groups shifting their focus to turquoise hydrogen, and I’ve said many times in the past, I really liked this technology and its utilization for hydrogen development. It does have a very high upfront cost, but it’s ability to easily make hydrogen and carbon black from a single hydrocarbon source is amazing the ability to take a hydrocarbon blockchain and separate it into the hydrogen, carbon and oxygen atoms, storing the hydrogen, keeping the carbon and releasing the oxygen all economically makes very, very beautiful method of creating hydrogen. And Germany is actually sitting in a very unique position to utilize this technology.

And I say that because of the Nord Stream and the Nord Stream two pipelines, Nord Stream two is still in development. But now that it’s under construction, again, Germany has quite a good outlook on natural gas reserves to use this methane pyrolysis methodology of creating hydrogen and carbon black. And what I would really like to see going forward is the US to look at this technology in the same way Germany is, with so many natural gas reserves here in the States, methane pyrolysis is such a good clean way of creating hydrogen and carbon black, that I think the states really need to take a deeper look at it.

Alright, that’s it for me, everyone. If you have any questions, comments or concerns about today’s episode, come and visit me at Or you can always email me at 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 and 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.