February 14, 2022 • Paul Rodden • Season: 2022 • Episode: 90
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In episode 090, A new fuel cell material from Cornell gets announced h3 dynamics with big news. And can Egypt announce a hydrogen strategy before the end of the first half of this year? All of this on today's hydrogen podcast.
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A new fuel cell material from Cornell gets announced H3 Dynamics with big news. And can Egypt announce a hydrogen strategy before the end of the first half of this year? 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 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.
Alright, everyone, so the first story that I'm going to talk about today really has me excited, and it comes out of Cornell University. In an article from news.cornell.edu, Joshua Krisch writes new catalysts steer hydrogen fuel cells into mainstream. Cornell chemists have discovered a class of non precious metal derivatives that can catalyze fuel cell reactions about as well as platinum at a fraction of the cost. This finding brings closer a future where hydrogen fuel cells efficiently power cars, generators, and even spacecraft with minimal greenhouse gas emissions. In a quote from Héctor D. Abruña, the Émile M. Chamot Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology in the College of Arts and Sciences says these less expensive metals will enable wider deployment of hydrogen fuel cells that will push us away from hydrocarbons and towards renewable energy sources. Now, hydrogen fuel cells, which convert hydrogen directly into electricity with only water and a small amount of heat as a byproduct, are promising renewable alternatives to legacy hydrocarbon combustion.
Now a critical part of the fuel cell is the oxygen reduction reaction, or ORR, which is an extremely sluggish process. Abruña often calls it God's collective punishment to electrochemistry that is traditionally sped up by Platinum and other precious metals. A model catalyst platinum conducts electricity catalyzes temperamental reactions and is hardy enough to survive the harsh acidic environment of a fuel cell, but it can be prohibitively expensive. Lately, however, more forgiving alkaline fuel cells have gained prominence, raising the possibility that less expensive metals once ruled out of their vulnerability to acidic environments might replace platinum and these gentler next generation fuel cells. Abruña and his team set out to engineer an inexpensive material fit for an alkaline fuel cell that would conduct electricity and catalyze the ORR reaction just as effectively as platinum. Transition metal nitrides were an obvious choice and DiSalvo is a world expert on these materials. Abruña said a class of compounds derived from cobalt, manganese, iron and other transition metals. The TMN's conduct electricity and when exposed to air tend to form a thin oxygen based outer shell that provides a perfect surface for catalyzing chemical reactions.
After synthesizing a family of TMNs with other conductive nitride cores, and reactive oxide shells. The team tested each candidate catalyst and a model hydrogen fuel cell. While manganese and iron ore base candidates made strong showings, the cobalt nitride catalyst was a clear winner That's according to Abruña with near identical efficiency to platinum, while costing 470 times less this as of February 2. Those savings may help finally bring hydrogen fuel cells out of the laboratory and into the mainstream. If affordable fuel cells could replace combustion engines and car batteries with a sustainable alternative that fed a steady diet of hydrogen never needs to recharge and waste as little as 10% of the energy that goes into making it run. By comparison, a typical car engine wastes about 75% of its energy. Okay, so breakthrough news coming from Cornell, and if anyone has been keeping track of the fuel cell market, especially in terms of transportation, you'll know that one of the reasons that they haven't really taken off and things like heavy duty Trucking is the cost of the truck itself. Now obviously, more testing needs to be done on these new materials. That being said, if their findings hold up, this could be one of the biggest game changers we'll witness during the energy transition.
Next, in a press release, H3 Dynamics completed the world's first hydrogen aircraft Propulsor Nacelle. In a press release on February 10, H3 Dynamics has successfully completed the world's first fully integrated hydrogen electric propulsion aircraft Nacelle, the core enabling the power solution for propulsion of future hydrogen aircraft designs. In the coming years such a distributed hydrogen electric propulsion architecture could fly 1980 Or even over 100 passengers, allowing airlines to cover medium and long haul routes over 2500 kilometers beyond the short haul flight distances targeted by emerging battery based aircraft, instead of a single centralized hydrogen fuel cell system. H3 Dynamics distributes multiple integrated power trains, incorporating the batteries and fuel cells, hydrogen storage and small electric motors across the wings. This means the size of each fuel cell system, hybrid battery pack and heat management challenges all become smaller, making systems more manageable and safer.
In 2018, h3 dynamics filed international patents for full scale distributed hydrogen propulsion, and announced plans for element one, a visionary hydrogen aircraft that applies this technology. Two years later, a global hydrogen aviation movement was born. Industry leaders announced new hydrogen aircraft planes and startups formed in a new race to the skies. In a quote from h3 dynamics founder and CEO Taras Wankewycz. Today's announcement marks a key milestone for H3 Dynamics and the broader aviation industry. It's the world's first real working propulsion system capable of being distributed on the wings of new zero emission aircraft.
H3 Dynamics has been working alongside the realities of safety certification timelines, and entering the market with lower risk reduced weight unmanned platforms, progressing step by step toward heavier cargo unmanned platforms. H3 Dynamics new hydrogen propulsion systems will begin test flights in France in the coming weeks. Okay, so another new milestone announcement from H3 Dynamics. Now, up until now, most aviation announcements have focused around small aircraft and short flight times. But now with this new breakthrough from H3 Dynamics, those barriers are theoretically broken. Now again, more testing is needed on the technology.
But if they can now prove that they can carry 100 passengers over 2500 kilometers, that opens up a much larger market potential. And lastly, in an article from energy utilities.com, Egypt to launch a $40 billion hydrogen strategy before June of this year. The Egyptian government is planning to announce its $40 billion hydrogen strategy before June of 2022, which will include plans for a production capacity of 1.4 gigawatts by 2030. The national committee in charge of preparing the hydrogen strategy is coordinating with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in order to select a consultant to determine the technical, legal and financial requirements for developing hydrogen projects in Egypt.
Speaking at the World Hydrogen Mena online conference on the 21st of April, Gabriel Lastours, head of energy Middle East and Africa at EBRD, said that the development bank was doing studies for the governments in Egypt and Morocco to help them prepare for launching green hydrogen programs and developments. According to Lastours, the EBRD is working with governments in Egypt and Morocco on studies to assess how green hydrogen could contribute to the decarbonisation agenda and mapping out low carbon pathways for these countries. Lastours said that while funding ambitious green hydrogen projects would present a challenge, that financing would be available for a variety of sources for well structured projects.
He continues by saying there will be a lot of funds available from development institutions such as the EBRD, the EU Innovation Fund and climate funds. In order for countries in the Middle East and North Africa to attract high levels of investment required, governments will be required to play a key role in implementing adequate legislation and infrastructure. He continues by saying there needs to be some support to the government and incentives for the right regulations to give confidence to investors for hydrogen projects and transport and storage. There will also be environmental and safety requirements.
And EBRD is doing studies to help governments in Egypt and Morocco address these challenges. And hopefully, that will kick start the new green hydrogen value chain in these countries. Okay, so interesting news coming out of Egypt. Now, what's interesting about this announcement is this really is an aggressive timeline to get a hydrogen strategy developed and announced. That being said, there are already several projects that have been announced for the country. And one of my big questions is will they reach the 1.4 gigawatt mark by 2030? Well, if the projects that have been announced do come to fruition, and they do allocate a total of $40 billion to this goal. I do think they can make 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 thehydrogenpodcast.com, or you can always email me at email@example.com. 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