The Hydrogen Stream: Air Liquide eyes South Korea as Cummins announces fuel-cell truck plans

With Australia prepping plans for vast green hydrogen and ammonia production facilities, two of the country’s state governments are trying to drum up the end-user market as agreements are signed to drive use of the gas in Ukraine and Poland.

July 27, 2021

Swiss-headquartered commodities giant Trafigura has signed an agreement with German green hydrogen business Hy2gen to explore the logistics of producing and storing green ammonia for use decarbonizing the shipping industry. “As one of the largest physical commodity traders and vessel charterers in the world; Trafigura is uniquely placed to push this transition forward,” said Cyril Dufau-Sansot, CEO of Wiesbaden-based Hy2gen on Friday. The German business is planning initial hydrogen-based e-fuels plants in Canada, France, Germany, and Norway.

Paris-based industrial gas business Air Liquide today signaled its willingness to invest across the supply chain for hydrogen in South Korea. The nation is “one of the most active countries in the world for hydrogen activities, backed up with a strong national ambition,” said Air Liquide Group executive committee member Matthieu Giard.

U.S, industrial gas and chemical company Air Products has signed an agreement with heavy equipment compatriot Cummins for the former’s distribution trucks to be powered by hydrogen fuel cells in the Americas, Europe and Asia. A statement issued yesterday said: “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.”

The partners expect a demonstration phase for the fuel cell trucks to start next year.

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The government of Western Australia has become a founding member of industry body the Smart Energy Council’s zero carbon certification scheme, which aims to certify the origins of renewable hydrogen, green ammonia and ‘green metals’ such as renewables-powered steel and zinc.

Not to be outdone, the government of Victoria has offered up AU$7.2 million (€4.5 million) to help business switch to green hydrogen use by funding pilot programs, trials and feasibility studies. State minister for energy, environment and climate change, Lily D’Ambrosio, said AU$6.2 million would be allocated to a ‘renewable hydrogen commercialization pathways fund’ with a further AU$1 million to finance related business plans, in the form of a ‘renewable hydrogen business-ready fund.’

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London-based development lender the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Gas Transmission System Operator of Ukraine have agreed to promote the use of hydrogen in the latter nation through a “first-of-its-kind accord.” EBRD managing director Harry Boyd-Carpenter said: “Ukraine relies heavily on fossil fuels across all sectors of its economy and hydrogen can represent a good alternative for decarbonization, and reduce reliance on fossil fuel.”

EU peer the European Investment Bank (EIB) has signed an advisory agreement with the Polish Cluster of Hydrogen Technologies to promote use of the energy storage medium in Poland. The deal was signed under the InnovFin – EU Finance for Innovators initiative of the EIB and European Commission, which itself is part of the bloc’s Horizon 2020 research program.

Wind up

Dublin-based clean energy company SSE Renewables and wind power engineer Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy have signed a memorandum of understanding to produce green hydrogen powered by two onshore wind farms in Scotland and Ireland, “to be announced in due course.”

North America PowerTap Hydrogen has acquired 49% of the AES-100 business which owns the intellectual property for the Advanced Electrolyzer System (AES), an electrochemical technology that recovers high purity hydrogen from dilute syngas. There is crossover between the two businesses thanks to PowerTap’s Steam Methane Reformer (SMR) technology, with a statement about the equity investment today saying “This will essentially broaden the pool of feedstock required to produce hydrogen to include biomass, in addition to natural gas and renewable natural gas.”

The press release said the AES system “enables lower cost production of hydrogen with no incremental greenhouse gas emissions. AES is the only technology capable of economically recovering high purity hydrogen at highly competitive costs.” AES-100 is reportedly aiming for hydrogen production costs of less than US$5/kg (€4.24), versus current prices of US$10-15/kg.

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