The Truth About Blue Hydrogen

Blue hydrogen has been making headlines this summer.  It’s made from natural gas in a two-part process called autothermal reformation (ATR).  The ATR process is different than the steam reformation (SMR) process used to make most hydrogen over the past century. There has never been a market for hydrogen for energy so we learn more & more each year about how to make zero, net zero, and low emission hydrogen for future markets.  What distinguishes the ATR process of making hydrogen from the SMR process is a step called partial oxidation.  In the first part of the ATR process, methane (CH4) is partially oxidized to create syngas.  In the 2nd part of the ATR process, called a water-gas shift reaction, the syngas is mixed with steam to make carbon dioxide & hydrogen.1  The chemical notation for the exothermic ATR process is:

Partial oxidation of methane reaction:
CH4 + ½O2 → CO + 2H2 (+ heat)

Water-gas shift reaction:
CO + H2O → CO2 + H2 (+ small amount of heat)

What makes the hydrogen “blue”, and why the US Department of Energy is talking about this pathway for hydrogen production, is that ~95% of the CO2 from the process is easily separated from the natural gas and can be permanently sequestered such that it will never reach our atmosphere.  The reason this hydrogen is being called “net zero” is because the by-products of the process can be used to make the energy required to execute the process as well producing excess energy to power nearby homes & businesses that would otherwise come from burning fossil fuels.

Mark Jacobson is a professor at Stanford University bent on stopping clean hydrogen.  Mark sued fellow researchers at the National Academy of Science for $10M for debunking his study on switching to 100% renewables.  Mark dropped his lawsuit in 2018.  Superior Court Judge Elizabeth C. Wingo in April 2020 said “no jury, properly instructed on the law, could find the statements in this case are defamatory in light of the evidence” and ordered Jacobson to pay the defendants’ attorney fees for the frivolous lawsuit.

Unfortunately, the anti-hydrogen crowd has been spreading misinformation about blue hydrogen recently and it’s gotten into the internet echo chamber.   This misinformation serves its purpose of sowing doubt about a net zero technology that is ready now to help eliminate greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality in population dense areas.  This time the misinformation comes from an old regular, Mark Jacobson, and co-author Robert Howarth.  Their recently published study spreads misinformation under the guise of peer reviewed science.  Mark Jacobson recently published this anti-hydrogen research paper in August 2021 that will be debunked in this post.

After debunking more misinformation from Mark Jacobson about the benefits of a hydrogen economy, RMP will cover some positive points about how real scientists and real companies are investing billions of dollars into making net zero blue hydrogen here in the USA and also in Canada.  The multi-billion dollar investments recently announced to build blue hydrogen plants will create good paying jobs for real scientists and real engineers.  As long as we keep speaking out against pseudo-science like the Jacobson/Howarth study, there is a chance to save our climate, have clean water, and breath clean air.

Why It’s Important for RMP to Write About Blue Hydrogen Now

“A lie gets half way around the world before the truth has time to put on its shoes” is a famous quote often attributed to Mark Twain.  One hundred years later and with the advent of social media, it could be argued that a lie gets around the world several times over before the truth’s jaw can drop in amazement.  If you’re a hydrogen advocate, like the people who volunteer their free time to help RMP protect our freshwater resources, you know about this all too well.   There are certain folks that don’t seem to care about landfills and waste water threatening our drinking water & being a larger source of methane emissions than the oil & gas industry2.  But, when it comes to net zero hydrogen production that can be made with net zero CO2 / NOx / SOx, these same critics are vehement, vocal, and willing to spread misleading information.

Sulfur Dioxide is much worse for people than CO2 and you will not find a single mention of it in the 13 page Howarth/Jacobson paper.  The word sulfur/sulphur shows up exactly zero times in the Howarth/Jacobson paper.  The word nitrous oxide shows up only once in the same sentence that mentions the paper is solely focused on carbon dioxide & methane.  The word carbon dioxide is spelled out in its entirety 128 times and never once called CO2 which is also a little odd.  It is socially irresponsible to be myopic on environmental studies that have broad implications to our economy and well being.  This is especially true in a country with poorer folks living near fossil fuel plants & oil refineries that release toxic emissions like SOx into the atmosphere disproportionately impacting people of color; this makes reports like the Jacobson/Howarth study even more socially irresponsible in that it ignores these important factors.  We have the technology now to make blue hydrogen to eliminate CO2, NOx, and SOx which can improve the health of every American immediately.  It makes standing up for real environmental science ever so more important which is the purpose of this website/organization.

Mark Jacobson first wound up on RMP’s radar in 2016 as a spreader of hydrogen misinformation.  His situation is unique as a person in a position of influence at a prestigious university (in this case Stanford) and also because he purports to dedicate his life to saving the planet.  Instead of objectively supporting all clean energy technologies, Mark seems focused on attacking clean energy solutions like hydrogen as he has for several years now.   I remember subscribing the Stanford Energy Newsletter in April of 2017 just so I could follow along with the University’s research and follow Mark’s exploits after I became alarmed after reading some of his published work.  I have been subscribed to Stanford’s Energy Newsletter ever since.  Every once in a while, like this past August 2021, Mark publishes something misleading to further an anti-hydrogen agenda and it gets wide traction with media outlets and lawmakers.  The tweet below from congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez reaches her audience of 12.7M Twitter followers and most likely uses Mark Jacobson’s junk science to support her false claims.  When coal is burned, it releases CO2, NOx, SOx, particulates, and  mercury into the air.  What AOC tweets below is wrong & alarming.

RMP feels it’s important to carve time out of our very busy lives and away from our day jobs to debunk this kind of junk science in order to fight for the protection of our drinking water and the air we breathe.  Let’s start the debunking and then move on to some good news regarding those who are making multi-billion dollar investments in blue hydrogen in the face of misleading detractors like Mark Jacobson.  Everywhere blue hydrogen production is employed, it will result in net zero carbon dioxide as well as reduced cases of asthma [especially] in poorer communities where coal & natural gas are currently combusting CO2, NOx, & SOx into our atmosphere.

Debunking the Howarth/Jacobson Study

The first major flaw in the Jacobson/Howarth paper is that the study employs a 20-year window to assign a greenhouse gas equivalency to methane instead of the 100-year window the IPCC uses3.  While it’s true methane is a powerful GHG that’s 100 times more potent than CO2, it goes away in about 12 years.  Integrating methane’s warming potential over a 20-year window gives it a CO2 equivalency of 86 which is the figure that Howarth & Jacobson use in their study.  Over a 100-year window, however, it’s only 28 which is 1/3 of the figure Howarth and Jacobson employ.  The 20-year equivalency exaggerates the overall impact of methane emissions because over most of the 100-years, the methane would be long gone from the atmosphere.4

The next major flaw in the report conflates fugitive methane emissions from oil production rather than natural gas production.  RMP has been tracking oil & gas production in the Michigan Basin since 2011.  We’ve mapped every single oil, gas, disposal, and storage well in Michigan and I have personally visited 100s of these wells over the past decade.  RMP’s environmental research & watchdog work in the Michigan oil patch has been covered in Ecowatch, Bridge Magazine, and several other well-known media outlets like MLive.  One thing you learn when you track the brass tacks production operations of the oil industry closely for several years is that natural gas is a nuisance gas at oil wells.

Natural gas is often vented or flared at oil wells because there is no way to get it to market and it’s therefore unwanted.  We need to eliminate the use of oil for so many reasons and natural gas emissions is just one more reason to add to the list.  We need to eliminate the use of oil as soon as humanly possible.  Oil wells are responsible for releasing more methane emissions from subsurface wells than natural gas wells or any other type of well.  This point is conflated in the Jacobson/Howarth study further eroding is credibility.  Oil also threatens our drinking water in a much more substantial way than natural gas which is a point that doesn’t get much attention.  It’s RMP’s stated mission to protect our drinking water.

Landfill and Agriculture RNG Projects in the United States (2005-2020).   As stated earlier, our human waste, animal farm waste, and landfills emit more methane to atmosphere than the oil & gas industry2.  The number of agricultural and landfill projects to employ RNG is on the rise over the past 15 years.  Even after every oil & gas well in the world has been plugged, blue hydrogen will still play a big part in reducing emissions, creating jobs, and creating clean energy. (Source:  USEPA)

RMP would love to see all oil wells plugged and never used again in order to curb their methane emissions and we’ve fought as hard as anyone over the past decade with this website as our body of work to back that statement up.  Natural gas emissions at natural gas wells, however, are not the same.  Natural gas wells have the specific purpose of getting gas to market and operators don’t want that product to leak.   It’s disingenuous to compare leakage rates at oil wells -vs- gas wells which is what the Howarth/Jacobson study does.  This means the 2.6% figure for upstream emissions the Howarth/Jacobson study employs grossly overstates the emissions associated with use of natural gas.

Make no mistake, RMP supports green hydrogen over blue hydrogen from natural gas wells, but blue hydrogen technology can reduce current emissions substantially now from gas wells that are already in use. Blue hydrogen will remain very important for RNG long after every natural gas well in the world has been plugged & forgotten because of more economical green hydrogen.  So blue hydrogen’s importance is not directly tied to natural gas wells.  Blue hydrogen can be employed for 100s of years after all subsurface wells are plugged.

The third and most deceptive flaw of the Howarth/Jacobson paper is the sleight of hand of basing calculations on old school steam methane reforming (SMR) rather than autothermal reformation (ATR).  The acronym SMR is used 69 times in the 13 page paper.  This is a classic hydrogen detractor technique that is used by all the famous detractors that spout scientific misinformation about hydrogen:  claim the historical use of hydrogen for the past 85 years is representative of what blue hydrogen will be or can be.  It is disingenuous to conflate hydrogen made for oil refining as representative of our ability to make zero emission hydrogen for FCEVs that will replace gasoline & diesel cars .  Can you guess how many times the word autothermal is used in Jacobson’s paper?  If you guessed zero, you’re absolutely correct.

One final flaw in the report is section 2.2 of the study calling out the extra power it would take to run the SMR process.   This is actually how blue hydrogen achieves its ‘net zero’ claim through the ATR process.  In section 2.2 of the Jacobson/Howarth study, Mark calculates 31.8g of CO2 are generated to create 1 MJ of hydrogen.   The math is correct, but the irony again is sleight of hand in that this is the amount of CO2 saved because it will be sequestered.  By capturing the CO2 that would otherwise be necessary to create the hydrogen while also having surplus power for nearby homes & businesses, the blue hydrogen produced earns its “net zero” claim.

For the past 100 years hydrogen has been used predominantly in ammonia production (55%), oil refining (25%), methanol production (10%), and ten percent “other”.  Hydrogen has never had a market other than to make our food & make dirty gasoline.  We never had the technology to use it for hydrogen fuel cells as the technology has been incubating in its infancy for over 50 years.   Well guess what?  Hydrogen fuel cell technology has blossomed in the past decade to bear fruit for a clean energy future.  We don’t need to use hydrogen for refining oil in a future state economy, and we don’t need to make it like our fathers, grandfathers, and great grandfathers used to in the early 1900s. It’s misleading to use century old backward looking stats as the basis for a forward-looking study when new blue hydrogen investments will be using autothermal reformation (ATR) and carbon sequestration.

The math and chemical equations in the Howarth/Jacobson paper are not scientifically accurate as laid out above.  But the bigger problem is the way the study uses sleight of hand tricks to get you to look backward instead of forward.  Howarth and Jacobson go to lengths calculating the chemical mole weights of carbon dioxide from making hydrogen from steam reformation.  On page four of the study there’s a table to summarize how much carbon dioxide is released as flue gas in the SMR process.   Let me say the same thing I said when I debunked Dr. Bossel’s pseudo-scientific paper:  I don’t dispute the Howarth/Jacobson chemical calculations per se, but by plugging the wrong numbers into his equations, Mark arrives at the wrong results.  Let me hang RMP’s thesis on this important point:  new multi-billion dollar investments in blue hydrogen will not use the SMR process to make hydrogen.  Blue hydrogen investments will employ autothermal reformation (ATR) in which 95% of the carbon dioxide will be captured and sequestered forever.  “Net zero” blue hydrogen will be achieved by eliminating the need to generate an external power source to execute the ATR process and the process itself will feed excess power to the grid.  Even staunch anti-hydrogen critic Michael Liebreich poured cold water on the Jacobson/Howarth study by basically saying “garbage in / garbage out”.

There’s no reason to spend any more time debunking the Howarth/Jacobson paper.  Our time is too valuable to rehash these incessant attempts to stifle good technologies like blue hydrogen with misleading information.  Let’s instead focus on what real scientists and engineers are doing to combat climate change.  They’re putting their money where their mouth is and they’re investing their money in ATR plants with CCS to create net zero blue hydrogen and good paying jobs.

Blue Hydrogen Investments Are Happening Now

Blue hydrogen has certainly jumped into the lime-light recently it seems since a key date this summer.  On June 9th, 2021 Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania based Air Products announced in conjunction with the Government of Canada and the Province of Alberta, a multi-billion dollar plan to build a landmark new net-zero hydrogen energy complex in Edmonton, Alberta.5   Edmonton is the heart of western Canada’s hydrogen economy and this news release set the stage for the Canadian city to operate an economically competitive and low-carbon-intensity network of energy.  It was just 47 days after the multi-billion dollar Canadian blue hydrogen project was announced that the Jacobson/Howarth paper denouncing blue hydrogen with misleading pseudo-science was accepted at www.researchgate.net on July 26th, 2021.

When the Edmonton, Alberta blue hydrogen project was announced, Air Products CEO Seifi Ghasemi said “By being a first mover and investing in this innovative landmark project, we are paving the way for hydrogen from Edmonton to meet industrial and transportation needs throughout western Canada. Our highly integrated project will be a model for net-zero atmospheric gas, hydrogen and power production consistent with our announced growth platforms.”

Aerial photo of the location where Air Products will invest $1.3B in a brand new ATR with CCS plant to manufacture net zero blue hydrogen. The plant will make 30 tons per day of liquid H2 which can serve a market of about 40,000 FCEVs like the Toyota Mirai.  (Image source:  https://www.royalparkrealty.com/)

The info-graphic used as this post’s featured image was adapted from the Air Product’s page that explains the details of the Edmonton, Alberta project.  One of the interesting things about the graphic is that it shows a 55 km hydrogen pipeline and indicates multiple ATR/CCS plants could be built along the pipeline scaling up net zero blue hydrogen production to 1,500 tons per day.  If 1,500 tons of blue hydrogen was produced per day, it would be enough for 2,000,000 FCEVs like a Toyota Mirai.  Just imagine two million drivers with zero emissions and zero impact on the electricity grid.  In fact, each plant would put additional energy into the grid at zero emissions to help charge BEVs.  This will be a great way to help Canada achieve their goal of zero emissions energy.

The Jacobson/Howarth study was published with just enough time to malign the narrative around blue hydrogen  because less than two months after the Jacobson/Howarth study was published, Air Products was back with another announcement on October 14th, 2021.  This time it was Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards and Air Products CEO Seifi Ghasemi announcing a $4.5 billion clean energy complex to be built in Louisiana that will make the state a leader in the United States (U.S.) clean energy transition.

The Louisiana blue hydrogen project practically dwarfs the Edmonton project with some very impressive statistics:  750 million SCF of blue H2 per day, 2000 construction jobs over a period of three years, 170 permanent jobs with an annual payroll of $15.9M per year, and all of this at net zero emissions.  If you convert 750 million SCF of H2 to tons, it’s nearly 2,000 tons per day or enough to service approximately 2.7 million FCEVs.  Again, this is nearly 3 million cars with zero emissions, and zero impact on the grid other than adding additional energy to the grid that can be used to charge BEVs.  The October 14th, 2021 announcement represents Air Products largest ever investment in the USA in the company’s history.

A large portion of the net zero blue hydrogen created in Louisiana will be for making blue ammonia so the 2.7M car equivalency is just to show scale.  The neat thing about hydrogen is how it scales because there is enough for our cars, trucks, boats, and ammonia.  Hydrogen can be used for everything from energy to fertilizer to steel with zero emissions; and you can never run out of it.

Air Liquide will open its 100% renewable hydrogen facility in North Las Vegas this month (Nov 2021) and will begin shipments to California hydrogen refueling stations in early 2022.  The 30 tons per day of hydrogen produced in North Las Vegas will use RNG from landfills and wastewater treatment plants that would otherwise vent to atmosphere.  If this plant were to employ carbon capture & sequestration while using RNG, it would be negative emissions.

The blue hydrogen in Louisiana will be able to connect to Air Product’s recently upgraded 700 miles of hydrogen pipeline that stretches all the way from New Orleans to Galveston Texas.  Additional ATR/CCS hydrogen production facilities can be built from New Orleans to Baton Rouge to Lake Charles and all the way over to Houston along the largest hydrogen pipeline system in the world.  As RMP has said before, Texas could come on the scene and possibly surpass California in registered FCEVs on the road in the next decade.

About 95 percent of the carbon dioxide generated at the Louisiana Air Products facility will be captured, compressed and transported by pipeline to multiple inland sequestration sites located along a pipeline corridor extending up to 35 miles to the east of the complex. More than five million metric tons per year of carbon dioxide will be permanently sequestered in geologic pore space secured from the State of Louisiana about a mile below ground. Air Products has received approval from the State Mineral and Energy Board for the permanent sequestration of the carbon dioxide.6

The Edmonton Alberta and Ascension Parish Louisiana blue hydrogen locations have been added to RMP’s map of North American hydrogen infrastructure you can find by clicking here.  The Edmonton Alberta location on RMP’s map is exact while the Air Products location at 8013 Ashland Road in Geismar Louisiana is a real location but only a guess as to the location where the blue hydrogen plant will be built.  The Ashland Road location makes sense as Air Products has a lot of vacant property on the west end of their parcel between the railroad tracks & the Mississippi River.   None of the websites announcing the Ascension Parish location have information on the exact location of the planned blue hydrogen facility.  When RMP learns the exact location of the planned facility, our map will be updated or confirmed as accurate.

#CCS
The MRCSP has surveyed multiple locations within our midwest region for additional Phase 2 carbon dioxide sequestration projects. In all of North America, Michigan now has one of only six Phase 3 sequestration projects underway in all of North America.  Click here to see RMP’s map of phase 3 active carbon dioxide sequestration sites in Michigan.

Michigan has had several CO2 sequestration projects underway for several years now that RMP has written about in the past.  We also recall in 2014 when representative Rick Outman sponsored Michigan legislation (HB5254) that Governor Snyder signed into law April 1, 2014 which modified wording so it was legal to transfer carbon dioxide by pipeline in Michigan.  Michigan has had several wells drilled into geologic formations that could sequester CO2 in the Detroit area.  Several wells have been drilled into the Salina formation in Detroit in the 1970’s7 as well as several wells drilled through the Bass Islands & Traverse formations into the Niagaran formation at about 3,400 feet depth throughout the metro Detroit area.  West Bay has drilled into the Niagaran formation in the Plymouth Canton area as recently as 2009.8

Michigan has all the tools to begin sequestering CO2 now, just like Louisiana.  All the pieces are in place for us to create net zero energy and create good jobs right now here in Detroit.   We can make green hydrogen too, but we have an obligation to reduce CO2, NOx, and SOx in the River Rouge & Zug Island area now which is the armpit of Detroit’s worst emissions and pollution.

We can make Blue Hydrogen here in Michigan just like Lousiana & Edmonton are doing.  Across the river in Sarnia, Air Products already has a hydrogen liquefaction facility that could be upgraded to make net zero Blue Hydrogen.   While ATR/CCS will be for new hydrogen manufacturing plants, it’s true that most hydrogen today is made for the petroleum industry where the goal is cheap even if dirty.  Several coal plants will keep burning coal and oil refiners will continue to use tons of hydrogen to refine oil for our cars & trucks.  The hydrogen used to make gasoline will largely come from SMR with all carbon dioxide vented to atmosphere.  This does not make FCEVs the culprit of gray hydrogen, it makes gasoline & diesel vehicles the culprit of gray hydrogen.  FCEVs running on blue hydrogen or green hydrogen are net zero CO2, NOx, and SOx.  Let’s not conflate the problems of the past with our options for the future.  FCEVs have nothing to do with historical hydrogen manufacturing & distribution over the last 100 years; they need to be judged on their ability to have net zero emissions looking forward.

In 2020, Americans used about 123 billion gallons of motor gasoline—or about 337 million gallons per day—and about 166 million gallons of aviation gasoline. Gasoline is one of the major fuels consumed in the United States and is the main product that U.S. oil refineries produce.9

Final Thoughts on Blue Hydrogen

Green hydrogen is the best.  We can make enough green hydrogen for all in the future.  But, we would be foolish to think we could make enough green hydrogen to replace consumers deeply entrenched reliance on a fossil fuel economy overnight.  Our hospitals, our industry, our military, and our consumers all expect to have all the energy they need on demand to keep America running.  Blue hydrogen is a technology we can use now to start tipping the scales of our fossil fuel reliance toward a green hydrogen future.  After every gas well in the whole world has been plugged and forgotten, the use of blue hydrogen will still play an important part in the hydrogen economy to help create clean energy and good jobs at our landfills, animal farms, and waste water treatment facilities.  Even if the fossil fuel industry disappeared overnight, natural gas will still need to be managed to protect our environment.

Much of the oil refining infrastructure and fossil fuel infrastructure in place today has decades of useful life remaining.  Gasoline powered vehicles are still being sold today with average useful lives of 12.1 years10.   The oil refining industry and gasoline powered cars are connected to how hydrogen is made now.  FCEVs and how hydrogen can be made with zero emissions of CO2, NOx, and SOx is the future.  It is bad science and economics to look at historical hydrogen tied to gasoline cars and say that it’s representative of green & blue hydrogen for hydrogen fuel cell cars in the future.

Map of U.S.A’s Gulf Coast hydrogen pipeline infrastructure.  Air Products recently completed additional hydrogen pipeline making the total pipeline system over 700 miles; stretching from New Orleans in the east to Galveston in the west.   RMP is working on adding this pipeline to our hydrogen infrastructure map.  The map above comes from https://rbnenergy.com/.

Much of the coal burned in the USA happens in the same places SMR is being used to make hydrogen for oil refining.  Detroit’s Zug Island & River Rouge area is a great example of a location where coal is burned, oil is refined, and steel gets made.  Zug Island in Detroit is similar to many other places where energy is made in a concentrated area in order to feed America’s hungry energy consumers & industrial processes.   It is in these industrial areas where energy is made that property values are the lowest because of the toxic emissions these locations belch into our atmosphere.  It is also in these places where Americans below the poverty threshold live and raise their children.

In most cases the communities subjected to America’s nastiest emissions are disproportionally communities of color.  Blue hydrogen and IGCC with CCS technology are ways to cut America’s emissions now, improve air quality for those suffering the most from NOx, SOx, and particulate emissions.  The actions of reducing pollution need to happen in conjunction with the build out of green energy infrastructure.  We need to capitalize on every solution available to create a pathway for thousands of American workers to transition from dirty energy to a clean hydrogen economy.  To deny this is to continue to relegate so many American’s to breathe dirty air for years to come.  Why?  What is someone’s true agenda when they badmouth solutions that will eliminate CO2, NOx, & SOx without showing us any alternative solutions that scale to the 101 quadrillion BTUs America uses each year which is only 17% of the 599 quadrillion BTUs the world uses each year? 11

Blue hydrogen is an excellent investment for the USA & Canada to reduce GHG emissions to pre-industrial levels now.    We can scale production of green & blue hydrogen to serve every single energy situation as well as steel, concrete, and fertilizer; no other solution can say that.  We can scale up green hydrogen while blue hydrogen helps to descale the fossil fuel industry.  This is the way.

Thanks for reading.  If you like our maps and our posts, please consider making a secure and tax deductible donation to RMP by clicking here.  We have very little revenue to cover web hosting services and appreciate your support.

 

 


Footnotes:

Footnote #1“Hydrogen Production: Natural Gas Reforming” U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy https://www.energy.gov/eere/fuelcells/hydrogen-production-natural-gas-reforming

Footnote #2–  Andrew Benedek, CalMatters.org, “Why we must turn food waste into a renewable fuel” Published October 21, 2021  https://calmatters.org/commentary/2021/10/why-we-must-turn-food-waste-into-a-renewable-fuel/

Footnote #3 – Allen, M.R., Shine, K.P., Fuglestvedt, J.S. et al. “A solution to the misrepresentations of CO2-equivalent emissions of short-lived climate pollutants under ambitious mitigation”  npj Clim Atmos Sci 1, 16 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41612-018-0026-8

Footnote #4 – Roger Arnold, Natural Gas World, “Bashing Blue Hydrogen: False Numbers, Flawed Models [Gas in Transition]” published October 13, 2021 https://www.naturalgasworld.com/bashing-blue-hydrogen-false-numbers-flawed-models-gas-in-transition-92613

Footnote #5 – Press Release, Air Products Corporation, “Air Products Announces Multi-Billion Dollar Net-Zero Hydrogen Energy Complex in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada” published June 9, 2021 https://www.airproducts.com/news-center/2021/06/0609-air-products-net-zero-hydrogen-energy-complex-in-edmonton-alberta-canada

Footnote #6 – Press Release, Office of the Governor of the State of Louisiana “Gov. Edwards, Air Products Announce $4.5 Billion Blue Hydrogen Clean Energy Complex” published October 14, 2021 https://gov.louisiana.gov/index.cfm/newsroom/detail/3421

Footnote #7 – Well file Michigan Department of Environment, Energy, and Great Lakes “Permit 32883 – State of Michigan Department of Natural Resources Geological Survey Division ” published February 9, 1979 http://www.deq.state.mi.us/GeoWebface/GeoWebface/WF/163/32883_WF.pdf

Footnote #8 – Well file Michigan Department of Environment, Energy, and Great Lakes “Permit 59922- Michigan Department of Environmental Quality – Office of Geological Survey ” published May 6, 2009 http://www.deq.state.mi.us/GeoWebface/GeoWebface/WF/163/59922_WF.pdf

Footnote #9 – U.S. Energy Information Administration “Gasoline Explained – Use of Gasoline” published 2020 https://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/gasoline/use-of-gasoline.php

Footnote #10 – Mathilde Carlier, Statista.com “U.S Vehicle Age from 2018 to 2021 (in years)” published September 29, 2021 https://www.statista.com/statistics/738667/us-vehicles-projected-age/

Footnote #11 – U.S. Energy Information Association “FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQS), What is the United States’ share of world energy consumption?” Last updated November 5, 2021 https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=87

USA & CANADA QUARTERLY H2 INFRASTRUCTURE UPDATE 2021-Q3

Welcome new readers of RMP’s quarterly H2 infrastructure report.  Each quarter we look back on the major stories related to hydrogen infrastructure advancements and we compare the current AFDC database to the AFDC database in the prior quarter to see what has changed.  The AFDC database is updated by the US Dept of Energy & can be found by clicking here.  RMP also keeps a supplemental data table of hydrogen production, liquefaction, rail and truck refueling stations.  RMP adds our additional locations to the DOE’s database of Class 1 refueling locations to make a comprehensive map of all North American hydrogen infrastructure.  You can view RMP’s interactive map of hydrogen infrastructure in the USA & Canada by clicking here.  Ok, on with the report…

The two major stories of the quarter are those of both good news and bad news.  Let’s start with the not so good news.  California’s Gen2 liquid hydrogen refueling stations continue to have start up problems.   These “big” stations still have the potential to be game changers for FCEV drivers in California but have not launched well in terms of uptime and availability.   The main Gen2 stations I’m referring to are:

        • First Element – Aliso Viejo
        • First Element – Concord
        • First Element – Campbell Hamilton
        • First Element – Placentia
        • First Element – Studio City
        • First Element – Sunnyvale
        • First Element – Mission Hills
        • First Element – Fountain Valley

All Eight of the stations named above, according to RMP’s new real-time SOSS data tracker under development, have showed poor uptime and availability over the past quarter.  This fact showing in the SOSS data is also corroborated by frustrated drivers on the Hydrogen Car Owners facebook group.  Furthermore, these startup issues are exacerbated by short supply of liquid hydrogen which comes all the way from New Orleans.  When Hurricane Ida made landfall in New Orleans at the end of August, liquid hydrogen production at Air Products New Orleans facility was stalled and disrupted shipments of LH2 to California drivers.

While it has been a tough quarter for early adopters of FCEVs like Toyota’s Mirai, it does lead to the good news: help is on the way.  More LH2 (liquid hydrogen) production is on the way to help eliminate supply disruptions to California drivers.  It’s important to note that the new production coming online soon and planned to come online over the next couple years is all 100% green hydrogen.

RMP added twelve new locations to our North American hydrogen infrastructure map this month that cannot be found on the DOE’s database.  Of those twelve newly added locations, five are manufacturing locations where hydrogen fuel cell systems will be made and seven of them are planned hydrogen production locations.  Three of the seven production locations are production only and four of the seven are production and liquefaction.   Here’s the kicker of a statistic though:  all seven new production locations are going to make 100% green hydrogen dispelling another myth about hydrogen.

The above table shows all hydrogen manufacturing, production, liquefaction, and transfill locations in North America in RMP’s data table supplemental to the DOE’s location data.  If you look at the new this year and new this quarter locations above that are planned to come online you’ll notice they’re all 100% renewable energy locations or Green Hydrogen.  Only the legacy hydrogen production is fossil fuel based. (Click table to enlarge)

The legacy hydrogen industry mostly serves the oil industry as hydrogen is used in the oil refining process.  The majority percentage of the hydrogen used in the oil industry is made from reforming natural gas.  The folks that like to talk bad about hydrogen like to say over 90% of hydrogen is currently made from fossil fuels.  This misleading statement is about to go away very quickly because legacy hydrogen production has only ever been made for oil refining.  All the new production coming online for hydrogen for vehicles is 100% green.  When someone says over 90% of hydrogen produced today comes from fossil fuels, you can correct them and say “100% of production of hydrogen planned for fuel cell cars comes from zero emissions renewable energy”.

All of this new hydrogen gives BEV cars a chance to fast charge from 100% renewable energy.  Right now there is not a single off-grid 100% renewable solar or wind fast charger in the world.  Most BEV charging comes from natural gas & coal and super fast chargers located near coal & natural gas plants extend the long term use of burning fossil fuels.   With an abundance of green hydrogen planned for the USA, fast chargers can be powered by fuel cells which will charge batteries with green and off-grid energy; this will be critically important during severe weather events that can impact fossil fuel grid electricity that BEVs currently depend on.  With enough green hydrogen we can have both FCEVs and BEVs get 100% renewable energy.  Without green hydrogen, super fast charging will continue to supplied with majority coal & natural gas to make those electrons.  We need hydrogen to help make BEVs cleaner & help them avoid outage risks from severe weather events.  BEVs are a lot cooler when they’re charged with green hydrogen.

The first big green hydrogen plant to come online to help support California FCEV drivers will be the Air Liquide North Las Vegas plant which is in strategic proximity to California.  This production & liquefaction location currently under construction is expected to open in Q1 of 2022 and supply about 30 tons of LH2 per day or enough for about 40,000 FCEVs.   Currently on California roads, there are about 10k FCEVs registered in California.   This one production location should help the number of FCEVs grow four-fold in the coming years.  As more and more green hydrogen production locations come online, the number of FCEVs can continue to grow at double digit and triple digit percentage rates for years to come.

Now let’s take a look at some of the top stories related to hydrogen infrastructure over the past quarter.

Hydrogen Highlights – Links To Top Stories 2021 Q3

7/6/2021 – B.C. Hydrogen Strategy published by the Government of British Columbia.   The document is a blueprint for how renewable & low-carbon hydrogen will support its climate goals and create new jobs in B.C.’s growing clean-tech sector.

https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2021EMLI0045-001306


7/12/21 – North County Transit District filed a document with CEQA outlining a hydrogen refueling depot location for up to 50 Fuel Cell Electric Busses for public transportation in California.

https://ceqanet.opr.ca.gov/2021070179


7/23/2021 –  AC Transit (Alameda / Contra Costa County) Transit (in Tesla’s backyard) released a study called the 5×5 study comparing five conventional diesel, five diesel hybrid, five electric FCEB, five BEB and five legacy FCEB, totaling 25 buses.  The masstransitmag article makes it sound like the FCEB did much better in commercial service than its BEB counterpart.  The study is also ongoing and this is the Mass Transit article that writes about here:

https://www.masstransitmag.com/bus/vehicles/hybrid-hydrogen-electric-vehicles/press-release/21230971/ac-transit-ac-transit-releases-its-first-zeroemission-transit-bus-technology-analysis-study

The actual study itself is here:

https://www.actransit.org/sites/default/files/2021-07/EDT-060420_Report-ZETBTA.pdf


8/14/2021 – Talks about SARTA’s 11 buses in Canton, Ohio and many other miscellaneous bits of info.  Tells who made the buses: El Dorado and how many they started with (3 in 2016) and how many they have now (11).

https://www.nwaonline.com/news/2021/aug/14/transit-industry-tries-hydrogen-for-its-fuel/?business


8/11/21 – Tech Crunch posts this article with lots of good information but it also appears as though Aria Alamalhodaei @ TechCrunch is some kind of Elon shilly paid gun for hire type of writer.  She has a very eccentric Twitter account but access to industry specific information as well as financial information, so it’s an interesting article.

https://techcrunch.com/2021/08/11/hyzon-motors-has-begun-shipping-hydrogen-fuel-cell-trucks-to-customers/


8/10/21 – Fuel Cell Works published (as they always do) someone else’s press release.  In this case, it was a Plug Power presser about the new green LH2 facility PP is building in Camden County Georgia.  This story lists other Plug Power locations that need to be looked up and added to the map.

https://fuelcellsworks.com/news/plug-power-breaks-ground-on-green-hydrogen-production-plant-in-georgia/


8/16/21 – California Energy Commission submitted a blueprint for the lowest cost Electric school bus fleet charging that will evaluate the benefits and costs of both BEB & FCEB zero emission technologies to get the appropriate mix of battery only & fuel cell + battery busses in a blended fleet of California school busses.

https://ceqanet.opr.ca.gov/2021080276


8/18/21 – Exelon Generation teams up with Nel Hydrogen to add an electrolyzer at their Nine Mile Point Nuclear Station in NY to make green hydrogen.  The plant is rated at 3GW and has existing hydrogen infrastructure.  The hydrogen manufacture is supposed to begin in 2022.

https://www.power-eng.com/nuclear/new-projects-nuclear/exelon-partnering-with-nel-hydrogen-national-labs-to-explore-h2-production-at-3-gw-ny-nuclear-station/


8/25/21 – Toyota announces via press release that they will be building Class 8 ready fuel cell powertrain systems that are “turn key” powertrains for heavy duty trucks.  The Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky (TMMK) plant will begin assembling integrated dual fuel cell (FC) modules destined for use in H2 powered heavy duty trucks.  The system weighs 1,400lbs and can deliver 160kW of continuous power.  The system also includes a high voltage battery, electric motors, transmission, and H2 storage system.  Toyota will also offer powertrain integration consultation/experience.  The system will be able to give 300 miles of range to full load weights of 80,000lbs.

https://pressroom.toyota.com/toyota-to-assemble-fuel-cell-modules-at-kentucky-plant-in-2023/


8/31/21 – Ballard announces collaboration with Hexagon Purus to produce Class 6 & 7 trucks with 400 miles of zero emission range.  The trucks will first be deployed in California in the Los Angeles basin area.  The first prototype truck is expected to be delivered in the 2nd Quarter of 2022.

https://www.ballard.com/about-ballard/newsroom/news-releases/2021/08/31/class-6-fuel-cell-electric-truck-powered-by-hexagon-purus-ballard-launched-at-act-expo


8/27/21 – Hino Trucks debuts their Class 8 hydrogen fuel cell truck in Ann Arbor at Toyota’s North American R&D Headquarters.  Hino Trucks new HQ is on 12 mile road in Farmington Hills about 15 minutes from RMP’s HQ right here in SE Michigan.   This new class 8 truck is ready to haul freight in California right now and gives Toyota a big leg up on companies that are competing in the Class 8 #hydrogen space.

Watch this 6:10 YouTube video showcasing the truck:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YyazZk2lCPA


9/10/2021 – Linde to construct $17.3M PEM electrolyser plant in Niagara Falls NY.  Operational 2023.  100% green.


New H2 Stations Opened To The Public 2021 Q3:

No new hydrogen refueling stations opened to the public in Q3-2021.  There are currently 3 stations commissioning:  Sherman Oaks, Woodside, and San Jose.  There are 8 stations under construction.

Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles Registered in North America 2021 Q3:

RMP uses data from IHS Markit Worldview to report FCEV registrations in the USA.   IHS Markit is the industry standard source in the Detroit automotive industry for statistical registration data used in financial analysis & parts forecasting.   IHS Markit data updates are published quarterly & lag approx two months behind calendar date for processing into the database.  Therefore, in this quarter’s report, you’re looking at last quarter’s data which is the most recent and was published about one month behind this article’s publication date.  Below are two tables compiled by RMP showing FCEVs registered in the USA by state and in California by county.

The table below shows a 15.4% quarter over quarter increase in the number of FCEVs registered in the USA with California primarily driving the number.   That’s the biggest jump in a long time.   The year over year increase in the last 12 months shows 30% growth.   RMP expects growth of FCEV registrations in the USA to grow substantially in 2022 as the Las Vegas LH2 plant comes online & start up issues for the new Gen2 refueling stations get resolved.

FCEVs by State table shows FCEVs registrations by state over the past 5 quarters.

Since California is the primary driver of FCEV registration statistics, RMP prepares a second table of FCEVs registered by county in California.

FCEVs by county in California sorted largest to smallest.   Los Angeles and Orange counties continue to lead the way for the California and the USA.

Final Remarks for 2021 Q3

Q3 is another quarter of stops and starts for hydrogen infrastructure.  A busy quarter in terms of adding 12 more planned locations to RMP’s USA & Canada infrastructure map, but a disappointing quarter for the drivers of FCEVs who struggled to refuel with new station issues and hydrogen supply chain issues.

While it’s great to see so much planning for new production capacity, it’s frustrating to see such poor uptimes for these new Gen2 stations with such high hopes pinned to them.   As issues get worked out and resolved, those same fixes should help other stations implement the lessons learned through these growing pains.

The Air Liquide plant in North Las Vegas will be a real milestone event as it should produce enough green LH2 to supply 40,000 FCEVs in California or 4x the current amount of cars registered in California.   This should buy some time for other green hydrogen production facilities to come online and the uptake of hydrogen can start to scale up.

Just want to thank all the pioneers driving their FCEVs in California helping to pave the way toward sustainable transportation for all.   It’s no easy task completely transforming our energy paradigms from dirty to clean, so thank you pioneers!

See you next quarter

Air Products and Cummins to Accelerate Development and Deployment of Hydrogen Fuel Cell Trucks

Air Products, a world leader in the supply and transport of hydrogen, and Cummins Inc., a global power and hydrogen technologies leader, jointly announce the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to work together to accelerate the integration of hydrogen fuel cell trucks in the Americas, Europe and Asia. Cummins will provide hydrogen fuel cell electric powertrains integrated into selected OEM partners’ heavy-duty trucks for Air Products, as Air Products begins the process of converting its global fleet of distribution vehicles to hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

Following a successful demonstration and pilot phase, Air Products plans to convert its global fleet of approximately 2,000 trucks to hydrogen fuel cell zero-emission vehicles.  Cummins and Air Products expect the Continue reading “Air Products and Cummins to Accelerate Development and Deployment of Hydrogen Fuel Cell Trucks”

USA & CANADA QUARTERLY H2 INFRASTRUCTURE UPDATE 2021-Q2

wilmington truck hydrogen station

Welcome new readers of RMP’s quarterly H2 infrastructure report.  Each quarter we look back on the major stories related to hydrogen infrastructure advancements and we compare the current AFDC database to the AFDC database in the prior quarter to see what has changed.  The AFDC database is updated by the US Dept of Energy & can be found by clicking here.  RMP uses the US Department of Energy database as our primary data source for our interactive map of hydrogen infrastructure in the USA & Canada.  Please check out RMP’s constantly updated map of North American hydrogen infrastructure by clicking here.  Ok, on with the report…

The big story this quarter are the five big Class 8 Kenworth/Toyota fuel cell trucks going into service at the Ports of Los Angeles & Long Beach on June 7, 2021 (featured image).  Also going into service this month were two high Continue reading “USA & CANADA QUARTERLY H2 INFRASTRUCTURE UPDATE 2021-Q2”

Mitsubishi Power Americas & Texas Brine Company Agree To Develop Long Duration Hydrogen Storage

LAKE MARY, Fla. (May 12, 2021) – Mitsubishi Power Americas, Inc., and Texas Brine Company, LLC have signed an agreement to develop large-scale long-duration hydrogen storage solutions to support decarbonization efforts across the eastern United States. Long-duration hydrogen storage is a key enabling technology for the transition to a net zero carbon energy future.

This collaboration expands Mitsubishi Power’s capability to store hydrogen safely and cost effectively in salt caverns in strategic locations across North America. The nation’s largest brine producer, Texas Brine and its affiliates have salt positions in New York, Virginia, Texas and Louisiana that will enable access to major load centers in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and the Gulf Coast.

Salt deposits are unique geological features into which caverns can be solution mined to provide safe, reliable and economical bulk gas storage. Hydrogen has been stored in salt caverns for decades in the U.S. Gulf Coast. Expanding the use of salt caverns for hydrogen energy storage in other regions offers a significant opportunity to create an infrastructure for clean energy resources throughout the U.S. to benefit industries such as power, transportation and manufacturing that are targeting net zero carbon emissions.

The collaboration with Texas Brine enhances Mitsubishi Power’s developing hydrogen infrastructure:

  • • In 2019, Mitsubishi Power announced a joint venture with Magnum Development to develop the world’s largest renewable energy storage project, the Advanced Clean Energy Storage project, to enable decarbonization efforts across the western U.S. This site is atop a massive salt dome in Delta, Utah, and adjacent to the Intermountain Power Project, which has transmission interconnections to major western demand centers.
  • • In September 2020, Mitsubishi Power announced a joint development agreement with Entergy to collaborate on bringing decarbonization projects to Entergy’s utility businesses in four states.
  • • Also in September, Mitsubishi Power announced that it had secured technical selections for three projects using its hydrogen-ready M501JAC gas turbines at the Danskammer Project being developed by Agate Power in Newburg, NY, the Chickahominy Power Project being developed by Balico in Virginia, and the Harrison Power Project being developed by EmberClear.

The Texas Brine collaboration complements Mitsubishi Power’s growing portfolio of hydrogen-ready gas turbines by positioning large-scale hydrogen storage in close proximity to projects, enabling access to economical utility-scale renewable energy storage.

Mitsubishi Power’s collaboration with Texas Brine provides other symbiotic benefits. Brine, a mixture of salt and water, is produced during the solution mining of salt formations. It can then be used as a critical feedstock for the chemical industry, or it can be dehydrated to produce salt for food, deicing, agricultural, industrial, and water softening markets. The coproduct of the solution mining process is an underground repository that can be used to store liquid or gaseous commodities, such as hydrogen. Conversely, when a salt cavern is designed and engineered specifically for the storage of hydrogen, it employs the same solution mining process, which ultimately creates a brine coproduct that can be used as a feedstock.

The alliance will initially focus on existing sites controlled by Texas Brine and its affiliates. Both companies will evaluate the opportunity for hydrogen storage in existing and new caverns, along with detailed engineering and design studies to support hydrogen storage needs. The companies will also explore greenfield applications that can benefit from hydrogen storage as well as brine and dry salt production.

Ted Grabowski, President and CEO of Texas Brine, said, “Strategic alliances that enhance collaboration across industry domains are critical for cost-effective use of resources. We look forward to collaborating with Mitsubishi Power to support safe and low cost storage of hydrogen across our sites in the eastern U.S. and to explore synergistic opportunities at sites in other parts of the country.”

Paul Browning, President and CEO of Mitsubishi Power Americas, said, “To bring about an energy transition for a net zero carbon future, we have to work with partners. It takes innovative partnerships and cross-sector teams to decarbonize multiple verticals. Our alliance with Texas Brine supports our mission to provide power generation and energy storage solutions to our customers, empowering them to affordably and reliably combat climate change and advance human prosperity. Together with our partners, we are creating a Change in Power.”

USA & CANADA QUARTERLY H2 INFRASTRUCTURE UPDATE 2021-Q1

Welcome new readers of RMP’s quarterly H2 infrastructure report.  Each quarter we look back on the major stories related to hydrogen infrastructure advancements and we compare the current AFDC database to the AFDC database in the prior quarter to see what has changed.  The AFDC database is updated by the US Dept of Energy & can be found by clicking here.  Canada added a new data repository for hydrogen stations in Q2-2020.  The Canadian website is administered by Natural Resources Canada.   RMP will continue to use the US Department of Energy database as our primary data source as we learn more about the Canadian database.  All this data (and more) goes into RMP’s interactive map of hydrogen infrastructure in the USA & Canada you can see by clicking here.  Ok, on with the report…

The Navistar RH Series Truck will be fitted with two locally made GM Hydrotec fuel cell units and capable of 500+ miles of zero-emissions range in a 15 minute refueling time.  We can expect to see these trucks on the road in 2022 & commercially available in 2024.  (Click image to enlarge)

The big story this quarter was supposed to be Navistar Inc. announcing they plan to bring a fuel cell Class 8 longhaul truck to market in 2024 with prototypes on California roads beginning next year.  This news was made more interesting because the fuel cell stacks would be supplied locally by Detroit based General Motors.  This news became slightly overshadowed, however, when CAFCP updated the planned hydrogen refueling station data for the next round of hydrogen stations from the latest 2020 CEC funding round.  According to the data CAFCP uses to track station progress, almost all of the new planned stations will have a nameplate storage capacity of 1,600kg which is nearly 9x bigger than most of the Continue reading “USA & CANADA QUARTERLY H2 INFRASTRUCTURE UPDATE 2021-Q1”

Redlands Passenger Rail Project Update – America’s 1st Hydrail >90% Complete

Construction on the 9-mile Arrow corridor almost 90% complete and bridge construction almost 100% complete.  Crews continue working on setting the rail along the corridor; installing signals including cabling at the grade crossings; paving and reconstructing curbs, gutter, and sidewalks; installing perimeter fencing along the corridor where needed; completing the installation of underground utilities and drainage systems; and preparing for train testing.

Construction workers pour concrete at the Waterman Avenue crossing of the upcoming hydrogen passenger rail project in San Bernadino, California.
The Arrow is scheduled to begin service in spring 2022 and will run between the San Bernardino Transit Center located at Rialto Avenue and E Street in Downtown San Bernardino adjacent to San Manuel Stadium and will terminate at the University of Redlands. The regional rail service will integrate with other modes of transportation such as cars, buses, and bicycles and will offer residents, businesses, and visitors a new option for live, work, and play.
Crews install a drainage system at the Mill Street crossing of America’s first hydrogen powered rail project in San Bernadino, California.   The project is over 90% complete according to information published by San Bernadino County Transportation Authority.

RMP published a detailed post explaining every aspect of this hydrogen rail project on February 2, 2020 (just over 1 year ago).   You can read that post by clicking here to learn more details about the project.

Sen. Brad Hawkins’ Bill on Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles Unanimously Passes

Sen. Brad Hawkins’ bill to promote hydrogen-powered vehicles has cleared a major hurdle.

The Senate today voted 49-0 to approve Senate Bill 5000, which would establish an eight-year statewide pilot project for the reduction of sales tax on purchases of fuel-cell electric vehicles.

“I’m pleased to see such strong support from my Senate colleagues for this bill,” said Hawkins, who represents the 12th District. “Our state is still in its infancy regarding electric vehicles, so I think it’s helpful to promote different types of zero-emission vehicles, both battery electrics and fuel-cell electrics. Washington has the potential to be a key producer of renewable hydrogen, so it makes sense to make it easier to purchase hydrogen-fueled vehicles.”

Senate Bill 5000, which has bipartisan support and nearly 30 co-sponsors, now goes to the House of Representatives for further consideration.

Back in 2019, the Legislature approved Hawkins-sponsored Senate Bill 5588, which authorizes public utility districts to produce and sell “renewable hydrogen.”

“The people of North Central Washington have been leaders in clean energy for decades and now we’re in a position to lead the United States on renewable hydrogen use in transportation, including production, distribution, vehicles, transit buses, short haul agriculture, and long haul opportunities. It’s pretty exciting when you think about it, especially knowing my region’s long and proud history of clean energy,” said Hawkins.

Hydrogen can be created from a process that separates the hydrogen and oxygen molecules in water. The Douglas County Public Utility District in Hawkins’ district plans to utilize its surplus hydropower to do just that, creating renewable hydrogen from excess renewable hydropower and possibly also building hydrogen fueling stations. The PUD’s hydrogen production facility near East Wenatchee is expected to be completed toward the end of this year.

SB 5000 aims to extend a similar exemption on vehicle sales tax that purchasers of traditional electric vehicles receive. With the first hydrogen-fueling stations in Washington expected to be operational by 2022, the bill would allow a total of 650 vehicles to receive a 50-percent sales tax exemption in fiscal years 2023 through 2029.

Even though hydrogen vehicles are newer to the market and slightly more expensive due to having not been in mass production nationwide, they have shown tremendous promise given how quickly they refuel and the limited infrastructure required to get the fuel to the station.

Hawkins said his bill would help establish important parity between fuel-cell electric vehicles and traditional plug-in electrics.

“In our efforts to promote carbon-free vehicles, our state policies should be ‘technologically neutral’ so that we can give ourselves varied opportunities to reduce emissions and not unintentionally bias ourselves in the process,” Hawkins said. “Similar to diesel and gas, maybe there will always be multiple fuel sources for next-generation cars or maybe someday hydrogen vehicles will be the preferred choice.”

More Info: Renewable hydrogen could play a key role in Washington’s clean-energy future (Sen. Hawkins, Seattle Times, 12/15/20).

GTI Preparing to Launch First-of-a-Kind Pilot with Fuel Cell Yard Trucks

Performance verification is nearing completion on new zero-emissions fuel cell-electric terminal tractors, and a first-of a kind pilot project is preparing to launch. For 16 months, GTI and partners have been designing and assembling the tractors in a project called Zero Emissions for California Ports (ZECAP) that will assess vehicle operation in a demanding, real-world cargo-handling application. The hydrogen fueling equipment is in final assembly and slated for installation this spring, along with the delivery of trucks.

A terminal tractor, also called a yard truck, is a heavy-duty tractor designed to quickly couple and uncouple with trailers to move them within a cargo yard. More than 1,800 yard trucks operate at the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, which is more than half of all cargo-handling equipment (CHE) at these ports. Yard trucks are the single largest source of CHE emissions but are more difficult to convert to zero-emission fuel cells or batteries because of their variable duty cycles and fundamental requirements for power, versatility, and durability.

In the ZECAP program, project partner TraPac will operate two fuel cell electric yard trucks for 12 months. The trucks are Capacity of Texas Trailer Jockey Series TJ9000 gliders configured with BAE Systems electric drive powertrain capable of peak propulsion power of 200kW (270 hp) and Ballard Power Systems FCveloCity®-HD85 85kW proton exchange membrane fuel cell. The Capacity truck can store 9.1kg of hydrogen at 350 bar and will fill at an onsite Hydrogen Technology & Energy Corporation (HTEC) hydrogen fueling station with 182kg storage capacity. Other project partners are Frontier Energy and ZEN Clean Energy Solutions. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) funded the project through a grant.

“We designed the project to maximize the time the trucks will be in service,” said Bart Sowa, GTI’s project manager. “TraPac is a 24-hour operation. The fuel cell yard trucks are expected to operate for two shifts and refill in minutes, with minimum disruption to TraPac’s operation. We’ll collect and analyze real-time operating data to evaluate safety, reliability, efficiency, and ability to meet operational requirements.”

This project is a step toward achieving the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles goal of using 100% zero emission cargo handling equipment by 2030.

The $11M project is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide initiative that puts billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy, and improving public health and the environment – particularly in disadvantaged communities.

Hyzon Motors to Build Fuel Cell Material Production Facility in Chicago, Illinois

  • Hyzon Motors chooses Chicago Area as Location for High-Volume Fuel Cell Membrane Electrode Assembly (MEA) Production Line
  • Hyzon’s Fuel Cell Features Proprietary MEA Technology at its Core
  • New Facility Expected to Substantially Reduce Costs for Fuel Cell Trucks Manufactured in the US, Eliminating a Key Bottleneck
  • Facility’s Production of MEAs Expected to Boost Delivery Capacity of Hyzon Zero-Emission Trucks to as many as 12,000 Vehicles Annually, with Ability to Scale Further

March 1, 2021, Rochester, NY: Hyzon Motors Inc. (“Hyzon” or the “Company”), a leading supplier of zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell powered heavy vehicles, today announced plans to build the largest fuel cell membrane electrode assembly (MEA) production line for commercial vehicles in the United States at its new Hyzon Innovation Center located in Bolingbrook, Illinois, just outside of Chicago.

As announced previously, Hyzon plans to go public through a merger with Decarbonization Plus Acquisition Corporation (NASDAQ: DCRB, DCRBW, DCRBU), a publicly-traded special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). The combination is expected to close in the second quarter of 2021.

The MEA is the critical component of a fuel cell and accounts for about 70% of the cost of a fuel cell stack. MEAs are currently produced in Canada, Europe, Japan, Korea and China at commercial scale. Smaller scale MEA production in the United States has so far been a supply and cost bottleneck for US fuel cell vehicle production.

At full capacity, the Hyzon Innovation Center is expected to produce enough MEAs to cover the production needs for up to 12,000 hydrogen fuel cell powered trucks every year. The facility is expected to commence production of MEAs in the fourth quarter of 2021, and is planned to open with 28,000 square feet of manufacturing space, before expanding in a second phase to 80,000 square feet. Hyzon expects to eventually fill up to 50 full-time positions at this production facility.

George Gu, Chairman and Co-Founder of Hyzon, said, “The new Hyzon Innovation Center is essential to our strategy to expand the US hydrogen supply chain, reduce fuel cell costs for commercialization, and create local jobs. We chose the greater Chicago area due to its top-tier universities, national labs, equipment companies and manufacturers, and a large pool of talent for recruiting a highly-skilled workforce. We are looking forward to empowering this unique ecosystem so that we can further accelerate the energy transition and decarbonize heavy road transport.”

Craig Knight, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Hyzon, said, “We are excited about our plans to open the first high-volume MEA production line for hydrogen fuel cells in the US, which we anticipate will enable us to rapidly scale up the production of our fuel cells and deliver up to 12,000 Hyzon zero-emission heavy vehicles each year. We see a substantial uptake in Europe already, and anticipate North America will soon follow suit on this decarbonization journey for heavy transport.”

The Hyzon Innovation Center will also conduct research and development on materials for fuel cells, electrolyzers, solid-state batteries, advanced e-drive systems, autonomous driving technologies and green hydrogen production technologies.

In addition to the Hyzon Innovation Center outside Chicago, Hyzon has two facilities in Rochester, New York – one serving as a fuel cell testing facility and the other as its US headquarters, fuel cell engine production facility, and vehicle integration center. The Company currently produces commercial vehicles at its facility in Groningen, The Netherlands, through a joint venture with Holthausen Clean Technology B.V.