February 03, 2022 • Paul Rodden • Season: 2022 • Episode: 87
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In episode 087, Ballard announcing a new breakthrough in fuel cells. And an absolutely gargantuan announcement from Daimler truck NextEra Energy and BlackRock regarding plans for a hydrogen infrastructure in the United States. All of this on today’s hydrogen podcast.
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Ballard announcing a new breakthrough in fuel cells. And an absolutely gargantuan announcement from Daimler truck NextEra Energy and BlackRock regarding plans for a hydrogen infrastructure in the United States. 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.
Okay, to start us off today. In a press release. Ballard and Chart’s successfully test a fuel cell powered by liquid hydrogen. Leveraging more than 90 years of combined hydrogen experience and collaborating under the heavy duty hydrogen fuel system joint development MOU, which was announced February 10 of 2021. Ballard power systems and Chart Industries has successfully tested a fuel cell powered by liquid hydrogen. For the test, a Ballard FC Move HD fuel cell was paired with a Chart liquid onboard hydrogen vehicle fuel system, which was functionally identical to the one displayed at the AC T Expo in September of 2021.
This testing was conducted at Chart’s hydrogen test facility in Minnesota in the US. The demonstration confirms that heavy duty vehicles powered by Ballard fuel cells will be able to employ the Chart HLH2 vehicle fuel system that utilize liquid hydrogen as a fuel. Liquid hydrogen has a significant space weight and range advantage compared with gaseous hydrogen, allowing for up to double the range without space, claim and payload impacts and simplified fueling infrastructure for heavy duty mobility applications such as class eight trucks, buses, rail and marine. This recent work builds upon Charts previous fill hold and vaporisation testing of the chart HLH2 vehicle fuel system and long established credentials and LNG service for vehicle fuel systems. Building upon this success will be to identify applications in which liquid hydrogen has the potential to unlock long distance opportunities such as truck, bus off road, rail and marine.
These products tested as part of the work to date include Ballard’s FC Move, and Charts liquid hydrogen tanks, which would be suitable for such applications Chart and Ballard will work to identify a potential demonstrator for liquid hydrogen road testing over the coming months. Okay, so what are the full implications of this press release? Well, the biggest impact and they touched on this is the fact that you can now use a liquefied hydrogen. Now if we remove the logistics of creating liquid hydrogen, which is substantial, and just focus on the fact that you can now use a liquefied hydrogen source in a fuel cell. This means a vast increase in the distance transporters can carry their cargo without refueling. And if we’re talking class eight trucks, we’re also talking over 1000 miles per fill up. Also interesting to note is the mentioned in this press release about off road vehicles. And in this case, off road vehicles, they’re talking about the super heavy duty construction vehicles at mining sites, which is a perfect use case for this technology.
Now, if we take those logistics of creating liquid hydrogen and plop them back into this equation, there start to become some major red flags around this. It takes a lot of energy to get hydrogen to minus 253 degrees Celsius or minus 423 degrees Fahrenheit. So until technology gets to the place where we can create hydrogen down to its boiling point, I think compression is going to be the way to go going forward. Next in a huge announcement, Daimler Trucks North America NextEra Energy Resources and BlackRock renewable power announced plans to accelerate public charging infrastructure for commercial vehicles across the United States. Daimler Trucks North America NextEra Energy Resources LLC and BlackRock Renewable Power today, January 31. announced that they have signed a memorandum of understanding to lay the foundation for a joint venture to design, develop, install and operate a high performance nationwide, US charging network for medium and heavy duty battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. The start of these operations as planned for this year 2022 for sites are set to begin construction in 2023. Initial funding is expected to be comprised of approximately $650 million, or approximately 580 million euros divided equally among the three partners.
Martin Daum CEO of Daimler truck is quoted as saying the planned joint venture with NextEra Energy Resources and BlackRock is another building block in our global partnership strategy to accelerate the infrastructure required for carbon neutral commercial transportation. Whether the United States or Europe, these kinds of collaborations are essential to successfully tackle the urgent need for zero emission vehicles. Daimler Trucks North America, together with its new allies, is taking the wheel and paving the way for a nationwide infrastructure for battery electric and hydrogen powered commercial vehicles in the United States. This plan joint venture is the latest line of partnerships providing Daimler Trucks continuous efforts to strategically aligned with top tier players in the field of key transformation technologies in the area of electric charging or hydrogen refueling infrastructure along important transportation routes. Daimler truck collaborates with Shell BP and Total Energies.
The partnerships with Siemens Smart Infrastructure, ENGIE and EVBox Group as well as PowerElectronics in battery-electric charging contribute to enabling the economic use of CO2-neutral trucks in driving operations. Moreover, the plan joint venture with the TRATON GROUP and Volvo Group for a European high-performance charging network will also make a contribution to paving the way for a carbon neutral transport industry. Like in Europe, the lack of publicly available nationwide electric charging infrastructure for commercial vehicles in the US, especially for long haul freight operations remains one of the biggest barriers for widespread deployment of electric trucks. With the formation of this JV, the three parties will be pooling their resources. To address this challenge.
The party’s plan to build a network of charging sites on critical freight routes along the east and west coasts and in Texas by 2026, leveraging existing infrastructure and amenities, while adding complimentary Greenfield sites to fulfill anticipated customer demand. Initial focus will be on charging stations for battery electric, medium and heavy duty vehicles, followed by hydrogen fueling stations for fuel cell trucks. The sites will also be available for light duty vehicles to serve the greater goal of electrifying mobility. The proposed JV will benefit from the experience and knowledge of its founding members. As the undisputed market leader Daimler truck affiliate DTNA offers not only the expertise in developing electric trucks, which started production battery electric Freightliner eCascadia and eM2in 2022 and 2023, but also the experience of providing consulting services to its customers, the large fleet operators in North America, in cooperation with a local utility company, Portland General Electric DTNA opened the first of its kind public charging site for commercial vehicles in the US in Portland, Oregon.
NextEra Energy Resources is a significant investor in electric infrastructure, and brings experience optimizing renewable energy and grid integration. BlackRock Renewable Power operates one of the largest renewable power equity investment platforms in the world. BlackRock Global renewable power group seeks to invest across the spectrum of renewable power and energy transition, supporting infrastructure globally, with over nine and a half billion in total commitments, and investments in over 350 wind and solar projects across 15 countries and five continents. BlackRock renewable power group is a part of Blackrock real assets. Okay, so this is the news that I have been hoping to hear for some time. And the truth is, these three operators can get it done.
They have the financial fortitude, and knowledge to create this infrastructure. And now the biggest question that really pops into my mind now is thinking about the Freightliner E. Cascadia and the EM2 trucks that Daimler truck is developing. Now, these are battery electric vehicles. So what will be the range for these and the payload that they can handle? Now we also know that Daimler and Volvo are developing fuel cell hydrogen fuel cell trucks. And so my only thought going forward is I think the reason that they’re doing the battery stations first is going to be due to the lack of hydrogen supply in the United States. And to be honest, that’s completely fair.
And really what needs to happen next is for hydrogen operators to come into this mix and start applying some location analytics to this project to determine the exact best places to start putting hydrogen hubs for this development. Now, also, the only state called out in this press release is Texas when it’s going to be East Coast, West Coast and Texas which makes sense because the southern states see more sun yearly and are less volatile when it comes to extreme weather, so I would imagine that this corridor is going to be focused on what’s called the United States as the Sunbelt, or the southern states throughout the United States.
Alright, that’s it for me, everyone. If you have any questions, comments or concerns about today’s episode, come visit me at thehydrogenpodcast.com. Or you can always email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 www.thehydrogenpodcast.com. Thanks for listening. I very much appreciate it. Have a great day.