The Hydrogen Stream: An electrolysis test field in Germany and a deal for 500 hydrogen-powered electric trucks

Enertrage and Sunfire want to build an electrolysis test field in eastern Germany and Hyzon Motors sold 500 hydrogen-powered electric trucks to Shanghai Hydrogen HongYun Automotive. Moreover, several partnership agreements were announced in Malaysia, Japan, the US, Australia and South Korea.

September 10, 2021

German renewable energy company Enertrag and electrolysis manufacturer Sunfire have signed a cooperation agreement for the realization of an electrolysis test field in Prenzlau, Germany. “Various electrolysers with a total capacity of up to 15 MW are to be built, tested and operated. Among them is a pressurized alkali electrolyser of the new generation S+, which Sunfire will deliver for the first time in the order of 10 MW,” the companies said in a note released Wednesday. In addition, the first hydrogen filling station in the Uckermark region of northeastern Germany is being built at the Prenzlau site, which will be supplied with the green hydrogen produced on site. Enertrag will connect the hydrogen center directly to the Uckermark combined power plant, which has a renewable generation capacity of more than 600 MW. “The green hydrogen is to be used for the mobility sector and in particular for local public transport in the region,” the companies added. “Enertrag will be responsible for marketing the produced hydrogen, which can also be supplied to customers by means of trailers.” Due to an increased power density, the new system is expected to record an improved efficiency compared to the previous generation. “It is important for us to produce our green hydrogen from regionally generated, renewable electricity, thus relieving the burden on the electricity grids and making good use of surplus electricity,” said Manuela Blaicher, head of Enertrag’s Power-to-X division. Blaicher recently joined the company from Deutsche Bahn. She previously worked at Engie Deutschland and Boston Consulting Group. Enertrag and Sunfire are already collaborating on other projects, including in the cement sector. Sunfire in 2014 opened what is reportedly the world’s first power-to-liquid demonstration plant in Dresden, where it produces renewable e-fuels such as diesel, naphtha, and waxes.

U.S.-based hydrogen-powered heavy-duty truck company Hyzon Motors has signed an MoU with Shanghai Hydrogen HongYun Automotive for the purchase of 500 hydrogen-powered electric trucks. “Under the non-binding MoU, the initial order of 100 vehicles is expected before the end of 2021 while the other 400 vehicles will be ordered in 2022,” reads the note released on Thursday. Apart from its assets and facilities in the US, Hyzon Motors also has international operations in the Netherlands, Singapore, Australia, Germany, and China. “Hydrogen fuel cell technology has been adopted more quickly in China than in the rest of the world,” said Hyzon CEO Craig Knight.

US-based multinational energy corporation Chevron and Caterpillar, the world’s largest construction equipment manufacturer, signed an agreement to develop hydrogen demonstration projects in transportation and stationary power applications. “The goal of the collaboration is to confirm the feasibility and performance of hydrogen for use as a commercially viable alternative to traditional fuels for line-haul rail and marine vessels. The collaboration also seeks to demonstrate hydrogen’s use in prime power,” the companies said on Wednesday. Chevron is eying opportunities in the heavy-duty transportation and industrial sectors. This week, it also signed an MoU with Delta and Google to track sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) test batch emissions data using cloud-based technology, while also penning a letter of intent with Colorado-based renewable chemicals and biofuels company Gevo to jointly build new facilities that would process inedible corn to produce sustainable aviation fuel.

Malaysian state-run oil and gas company Petronas and Japanese petroleum company Eneos have signed an agreement to jointly develop a competitive, clean hydrogen supply chain between Malaysia and Japan. “The MoU will see both parties embark on a technical-commercial joint-study of a hydrogen supply chain which includes hydrogen production and its transportation in methylcyclohexane (MCH) form, where hydrogen is converted from its original gaseous state into a liquid form to enable large volume deliveries,” reads a statement released by Petronas on Friday. Petronas and Eneos will also explore low carbon hydrogen production from Petronas’ petrochemical facilities “and in the future, green hydrogen produced by renewable energy.”

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Australian petroleum exploration and production company Woodside has joined five South Korean parties in the HyStation project, which aims to construct and operate hydrogen refueling stations to service public transport bus fleets in the Asian country. “Woodside is the only foreign direct investor in HyStation from the energy sector, joining South Korean state-owned gas company KOGAS, Hydrogenic Energy Fund (of which Hyundai Motor Company holds a majority share), Samsung C&T, Industrial Bank of Korea and Hyundai Rotem,” reads the announcement published on Friday. The Korea Development Bank has agreed to provide financing support for the new company.

HyStation wants to accelerate the conversion of bus fleets from diesel to hydrogen, with hydrogen produced on site through natural gas reforming. The first hydrogen bus refueling station is expected to begin operation by the end of 2022. The investment in HyStation follows Woodside’s investment in HyNet, which operates 16 hydrogen refueling stations, with more nearing completion.

The German energy sector is calling on the future government to foster a strong domestic market for hydrogen to contribute to a globally competitive hydrogen industry. “We appeal to the future German government to create the conditions for an ambitious hydrogen production through offshore wind energy,” wrote eight industry groups (BWO, DWV, EEHH, EE.SH, IG Metall Coast, Foundation Offshore-Winden-Ergie, WAB, and the AquaVentus Forderverein), saying that hydrogen imports will not be enough. The German government, alongside several German companies, are eying import opportunities, speaking with governments and companies in South America, North America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania. “The National Hydrogen Strategy must be further concretised. For the production of green hydrogen, this means setting binding expansion targets and creating a road map for offshore wind to hydrogen. In view of the Federal Constitutional Court ruling of 24 March 2021, planning beyond 2030 is necessary in view of the expected implementation times and the increasing demand for green hydrogen production, including the necessary infrastructure.” The expansion targets for offshore hydrogen must be set in addition to the expansion target of 40 GW at sea for the electricity sector, wrote the industry groups. The eyes are now on the northwestern end of the German Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the North Sea. The associations also call for the construction of hydrogen pipelines. “The possibility of a hydrogen transport pipeline must be explicitly provided for in the spatial development plan for the North Sea,” they wrote. The groups also demanded that a ban in the land development plan for the SEN-1 offshore development area be deleted. The associations are additionally calling for a collective pipeline that would allow cooperation between North Sea states, a change in criteria used to evaluate transport systems, and the development of an awarding system. German federal elections will be held on September 26.

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