Anglo American, Umicore to advance LOHC technology for fuel cell vehicles
The new LOHC technology aims to avoid the need for dedicated infrastructure and support the widespread adoption of hydrogen-powered vehicles.
Anglo American Platinum (a part of Anglo American responsible for platinum group metals (PGMs)) partnered with Umicore (a leading supplier of catalysts for PEM fuel cell electric vehicles) to advance liquid organic hydrogen carrier (LOHC) technology.
Both partners will conduct research and development to advance the technology to simplify the hydrogen storage and shipment infrastructure for the fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) refuelling network.
LOHC has the ability to allow hydrogen to be dealt with in a similar way as any other fuel such as oil using the existing fuel infrastructure for transportation, thus avoiding the need for a new dedicated hydrogen infrastructure.
The aim is to work on new PGMs-based catalyst technologies that can be installed directly in FCEVs and other forms of transport to avoid the need for extensive new hydrogen infrastructure and refuelling networks.
Both companies are exploring the dehydrogenation step (unloading of hydrogen from the LOHC), allowing it to take place directly in the vehicle at lower temperatures and pressures. This would be a simple alternative to onboard storage of compressed hydrogen.
The companies will also work with Prof. Peter Wasserscheid at the University of Erlangen, co-founder of Hydrogenious LOHC Technologies. Hydrogenious is a portfolio company of AP Ventures, which investors include Anglo American.
Benny Oeyen, Anglo American’s Executive Head of PGMs Market Development, said, “LOHC technology provides an attractive pathway to emission-free and cost-effective hydrogen- fuelled transport.” The mining company sees the technology offer a simple approach and reduce costs across the whole value chain.
Lothar Mussmann, Umicore’s Senior Vice President New Business Incubation, said, “Allowing the use of hydrogen loaded LOHC to fuel mobile applications by advanced LOHC dehydrogenation catalyst technology will help to overcome existing challenges of hydrogen infrastructure and logistics and thereby foster the wider introduction of fuel cell electric vehicles.”
Natascha Viljoen, CEO of Anglo American Platinum, commented, “We are investing in those technologies that support a long-term investment environment for hydrogen to deliver its potential.”