THP-E81: What Are Hydrogen Electric Engines And The First Class Move That United Made To Secure Them. Also, Loop Energy Pops The Champagne On A Good Year And Tech Giant Emerson Will Flex Its New Hydrogen Muscles To Do Something Cool.

January 13, 2022 • Paul Rodden • Season: 2022 • Episode: 81

Welcome to The Hydrogen Podcast!

In episode 081, Big news from United Airlines, Loop energy delivers on its 2021 objectives, and Emerson is heading into the hydrogen game. All of us on today’s hydrogen podcast.

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Paul Rodden




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Big news from United Airlines, Loop energy delivers on its 2021 objectives, and Emerson is heading into the hydrogen game. All of us 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.

Okay, so on December 13 of 2021, United announced that it has become the largest airline to invest in zero emission engines for regional aircraft and it was on December 13, that united became the largest airline to invest in zero emission hydrogen electric engines for regional aircraft. The latest move toward achieving its goal to be 100% Green by reducing greenhouse gas emissions 100% by 2050, without relying on traditional carbon offsets. Through a new equity stake in ZeroAvia, which is a leading company focused on hydrogen electric aviation solutions. United expects to buy up to 100 of the company’s new zero emission 100% Hydrogen electric engines, the engine could be retrofit to existing United Express aircraft as early as 2028.

One potential use is on United unique CRJ 550, the only 50 seat aircraft which offers first class and other premium amenities, making this leading aircraft even better and making another first for United. According to Scott Kirby, the CEO of United hydrogen electric engines are one of the most promising paths to zero emission air travel for smaller aircraft, and this investment will keep United out in front on this important emerging technology. United continues to look for opportunities to not only advance our own sustainability initiatives, but also identify and help technologies and solutions that the entire industry can adopt.

Hydrogen electric engines use electricity created by a chemical reaction in a fuel cell to power an electric motor instead of burning hydrocarbons. Because no fuel is being burned. There are no climate harming emissions or carbon released into the atmosphere when the engines are operated. Now the engine spec for this is the ZeroAvia ZA2000RJ and it’s expected to be used in pairs as a new power source for existing regional aircraft. Under the agreement with United Airlines ventures united will pursue a conditional purchase agreement for 50 ZeroAvia ZA2000RJ engines with an option for 50 More enough for up to 50 twin engine aircraft, which will be operated by United Express partners once they are fully developed and certified by regulators as soon as 2028. And an a quote by Val Miftakhov founder and CEO is ZeroAvia. This support by United alongside our other forward thinking partners demonstrates the importance of hydrogen electric propulsion in the future of sustainable flight. The United express routes powered by hydrogen electric aircraft will be enabling large numbers of passengers to take zero emission flights.

Well within this decade. ZeroAvia is accelerating developments of its ZA2000 engine and will soon begin ground tests of its ZA600 and a 19 seat aircraft with the aim of entering commercial service with a smaller engine by 2024. ZeroAvia is roadmap calls for it to develop hydrogen electric propulsion for a progressively larger aircraft. In September of 2020 ZeroAvia completed the world’s first hydrogen fuel cell powered flight of a commercial grade aircraft. ZeroAvia has already secured experimental certificates for two prototype aircraft from the FAA in the United States and the Civil Aviation Authority in the UK, and has passed significant flight test milestones. On December 1, United made aviation history by operating the first passenger flight using 100% Sustainable aviation fuel, this being from Chicago to Washington DC. The flight showcased the safety of sustainable aviation fuel and the potential for a dramatically reduced carbon footprint for aviation. Earlier this year 2021, United announced a record setting agreement to purchase sustainable aviation fuel from Alder fuels and has now committed to purchase more than twice as much of this fuel as the rest of the world airlines combined.

Okay, so a very progressive move from United Airlines. And really what this marks is the start of the next generation a aviation engines being utilized by a global airline. And what I think will be interesting to see is just how United Airlines sources the hydrogen for these airplanes, that there will almost surely need to be some kind of hydrogen hub wherever these flights are scheduled and next Loop Energy delivers against 2021 objectives, setting the foundation for a successful 2022. Loop energy, which is a developer and manufacturer of hydrogen fuel cell solutions, is pleased to announce that it has achieved its business objectives for 2021 which sets the foundation for further growth in 2022. Loop energy’s milestones for 2021 focused on four pillars, the first being a go to market strategy, second being production capacity, third product development and fourth cost reduction. Now a key component of loops go to market strategy is its customer adoption cycle, which consists of three distinct phases.

The pilot, or first phase involves the sale of a minimum of one hydrogen fuel cell module or system to an original equipment manufacturer or OEM, who manufactures fuel cell electric vehicle applications, such as buses and trucks, and then sells it to one or more operators. Now during this phase, the OEM focuses on prototyping and integrating the loop hydrogen fuel cell into a fuel cell EV application for design, testing and certification. The second part of that go to market strategy is a scale up phase, which involves production scale up and deployment by the customer with a limited number of early adopter fuel cell EV fleet operators.

And the third part is the full production phase, which involves the rollout of the product offered by the OEM to a wide cross section of fleet operators. And the company had announced that in December, they had achieved his 2021 objective to add 10 New qualified OEMs who manufacture fuel cell EVs to the customer adoption cycle. Now loop has progressed 10 customers to CAC with a total of 10 in the pilot one phase, and advanced one customer which was SkyWell into the scale up phase, SkyWell buses with loops, fuel cells have completed over 300,000 kilometers as a part of the 11 vehicle fleet operated by the city of Nanjing, which is in the Lishui District in China, while successfully achieving a 96% uptime for the fuel cell systems which exceeded their target. The growth of loops customer portfolio has also seen its geographic footprint expand with OEMs located in Europe, Asia and North America. Okay, so great news that loop energy has actually delivered on its 2021 goals. And what this news and press release really does showcase is how in 2021, so many hydrogen companies met or outperformed expectations.

And what that’s done is they have very successful foundation for 2022. But what news like this also tells me is that there are more and more off takers for hydrogen coming to market, which is welcome news for any operator out there worried about offtaker agreements. And lastly, tech giant Emerson is going to help accelerate green hydrogen production. In a press release on January 11. Emerson is helping accelerate technology development for large scale offshore green hydrogen production. The company is developing software and systems to enable safe and efficient operation of the world’s first offshore green hydrogen production process on an operational gas platform. The Poseidon project is a pilot that aims to validate the integration of offshore wind power and offshore natural gas and hydrogen production at sea, generating renewable fuels by harnessing a green energy source, the Neptune energy operated platform q13a-a and the Dutch North Sea will host the project, which provide insight into electrolyzer efficiency from a variable power supply and the cost of installing and maintaining a green hydrogen production plant on an offshore platform.

Now, green electricity will be used to simulate the fluctuating supply from wind turbines and power their production process, which will convert seawater into de mineralized water and then safely produce hydrogen via electrolysis. The hydrogen is then blended with a natural gas and transported to the coast via existing pipeline and then fed into the national gas grid. The one megawatt electrolyzer is expected to produce up to three tonnes of hydrogen per week. In a quote from Mark Bulanda, executive president of Emerson’s automation solutions business, hydrogen is regarded as the fuel of the future, but with ambitious decarbonisation and net zero emission targets. It’s essential to expand production capacity and accelerate the transition to Hydrogen produced using sustainable energy. Through the Poseidon project.

We together with the consortium partners hope to provide a pathway to large scale offshore green hydrogen production and make a significant contribution to the energy transition process. Emerson’s delta V distributed control system, delta V safety instrumented system and delta V LIVE operator interface software will manage the desalinization and electrolyzer units, gas blending and balance of plant equipment. By meeting the unique application challenges including variable desalinated water feedstock and power supply, delta V software and systems will provide enhanced safety, process uptime and operational efficiency. The solution will ensure the existing natural gas operations remain unaffected and blended gas meets its required specification. Integration with the existing offshore systems and communication with offshore operations will maximize process visibility and prevent unforeseen issues. Again, quoting Bulanda, the Poseidon project creates a unique opportunity to develop the steps required to ensure safe large scale green hydrogen production at sea. Emerson’s experience across the hydrogen value chain, wind power and offshore energy industries will help achieve successful project execution and our proven technology will ensure safe and efficient operations. In this first of a kind application.

Poseidon is being developed by a consortium of partners Nexstep, TNO, Neptune Energy, Gasunie, Noordgastransport, NOGAT, DEME Offshore, TAQA, Eneco, Nel Hydrogen, InVesta, Hatenboer, Iv-Offshore & Energy and Emerson. The project has been awarded a 3.6 million euro grant from the Netherlands enterprise agency under the agency’s demonstration Energy and Climate innovation scheme, which invests in renewable energy developments, including hydrogen projects. Okay, so this announcement is huge. Previously, I’ve talked about the things that will make green hydrogen more economical. And while a lot of that boils down to the cost of parts and scaling up electrolyzers to reduce their upfront cost. The other half of that puzzle is software development. And it is these automated technologies from Emerson that will make that a reality, especially in that driving efficiencies will be the name of the game in green hydrogen cost.

Alright, that’s it for me everyone. You have any questions, comments or concerns about today’s episode, come and visit me on my website at the hydrogen 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.