The Indian Railways Organisation of Alternate Fuel (Iroaf) has taken a step towards developing hydrogen-powered trains by inviting bids for hydrogen fuel cell-based trains. The project will be demonstrated at the Sonipat-Jind section of Northern Railway, which is around 89 km. The initial plan includes converting two Demu (Diesel Electric Multiple Unit) rakes which will be further expanded to two Hybrid locos based on hydrogen fuel cell power movement. The project also includes a stationary onsite hydrogen refuelling station. Meanwhile, several other initiatives have been taking recently to support the Indian hydrogen market.
In Japan, the HydroBingo, a hydrogen-powered ferry, was introduced under the partnership Jpnh₂Ydro. The partnership includes Tsuneishi and CMB. The HydroBingo has two hydrogen diesel combustion engines and has a capacity of around 80 passengers. The ferry can reduce CO2 emissions by around 50% as compared to conventional diesel engines. It also includes a mobile trailer for hydrogen storage attached through a special double-walled pipeline with the engine to provide hydrogen to the engine and can be easily brought to a refuelling station for a refill.
Nikola Corporation, A US-based company, has received funding of US$ 2 million from the US Department of Energy (DoE). The funding will be used to make further advancements in the research of autonomous refuelling technologies for future hydrogen fueling stations. Autonomous refuelling technologies will play a key role in ensuring fast, efficient, and safe refuelling. The technology developed by Nikola will be used to refuel heavy-duty fuel-cell electric trucks rapidly and decrease labour and other challenges such as maintenance compared to manual refuelling.
In the US, Hyzon Motors to facilitate Total Transportation Services (Ttsi) with a Class 8 heavy-duty fuel cell electric truck for a 30-day trial. The truck will be provided to Ttsi in Q4 2021. The truck is built on 2022 Freightliner Cascadia chassis with 600 peak horsepower. It has a range of up to 400 miles. It can carry around 82,000 lbs gross combined vehicle weight (Gcvw), which is the standard load for Ttsi. Due to its high load capacity, the truck will be a part of Ttsi’s existing operations. The truck can be refuelled in a nearby hydrogen station located in Wilmington, CA. Hyzon also released its second-quarter earnings, reported a net loss of US$ 9.4 million, including US$ 3.5 million in R&D expenses.
GM Motors, a US-based vehicle manufacturer, announced that it is adding two new zero-emissions vehicles to its portfolio to boost its business arm, BrightDrop. The two vehicles include Chevrolet’s battery-electric cargo van and medium-duty truck which has Ultium and Hydrotec hydrogen fuel cell technology. GM indicates that it is focused chiefly on battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell technologies for heavy-duty and long-haul purposes. In January 2021, the company also announced a partnership with Navistar, under which GM would supply Hydrotec Hydrogen Fuel Cell Power Cubes to Navistar. The first hydrogen truck under the partnership is expected to be online by 2024.
California Fuel Cell Partnership (CaFCP) publishes a new foundational document in which it envisages a vision of 70,000 heavy-duty class 8 fuel cell electric trucks (FCETs) with 200 heavy-duty truck stations by 2035. The vision of the partnership is in line with its larger goal, which is 100% zero-emission trucks by 2045. To achieve its goals, the CaFCP is stressing the government for the policies that can accelerate private investment in the field of fuel cell development.
The US-based ZeroAvia announced has successfully completed the first ground tests of its new 19 Seat, zero-emission aviation powertrain system in California. The powertrain system has a power of 600 kW. To perform the testing, ZeroAvia’s 600 kW powertrain pulled 15-ton HyperTruck across the tarmac. HyperTruck is a mobile ground testing platform used for testing systems for 40 to 80 seat hydrogen-electric powered aircraft. The testing is in line with the company’s HyFlyer II program, which was launched to deliver hydrogen-electric zero-emission propulsion systems for airframes of around 10 to 20 seats in size.
In Europe, the UK based Ulemco (Ultra Low Emissions Mileage Co) partnered with Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) and its Fire and Rescue Service to design a fuel cell electric powertrain for zero-emission fire appliances. The partnership is named HySPERT (HYdrogen Special Purpose Electric vehicle platform for Refuse collection and fire Trucks). The partnership also received funding from the UK government under the Transition to Zero-Emission program. The time period of eight months is defined by the partnership for the development of powertrain in which the first stage involved a deep understanding of the specific duty cycles for emergency service vehicles and energy requirements for 4 to 40 hours of continuous running.
In Germany, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bmbf) announced € 1.4 million (US$ 1.6 million) of funding to Nexus-fc from February 2021 to January 2023. The Nexus-fc will work towards developing and producing fast charging hydrogen stations and supply fuel cells to the project partner In-der-City-Bus GmbH. The funding of € 290K (US$ 341K) is also allocated to Proton Motor Fuel Cell GmbH.
In Iceland, HS Orka and Hydrogen Ventures Limited (H2V) announced a partnership to develop a production plant for green methanol, which will use green hydrogen for the production of synthetic fuels. The production plant will be used to power the marine sector and domestic and commercial vehicles such as cars, vans and lorries. The partnership brought Iceland one step closer to achieving carbon neutrality by 2040. The project is divided into two phases, the first phase include a 30 MW input of green hydrogen with an estimated cost of around € 100 million (US$ 117 million), and the second phase consists of a much larger scale of green hydrogen production.
In Austria, the Austrian state of Upper Austria, Fronius, Solaris, Wels-Linien, SAB Tours and OÖVV partnered for testing a Solaris Urbino 12 hydrogen bus until 20 August 2021 on various routes of the town of Wels in the Austrian state of Upper Austria (Oberösterreich). The bus has the capacity to cover around 400 km once it is fully refuelled. The testing will be conducted under the Hydro-Motion mobility project of Austria. Under the partnership, Solaris is responsible for facilitating the hydrogen bus and its maintenance, while Fronius is responsible for providing access to the refuelling station, Wels-Linien is responsible for servicing the line for the bus and SAB tours is responsible for drivers and required license.
In Italy, Fincantieri and Enel Green Power Italia agreed to develop production, management, supply, and use of green hydrogen in the marine sector. Both will collaborate to work on the supply of green hydrogen to a naval, submarine, surface vessels, and industrial users within the port area. Enel’s Eugenio Montale power plant in La Spezia (Liguria region) is selected as an initial testing site for the activities performed under the partnership.
In Oceania, Engc, Ivys Inc. and Pdc Machines successfully installed Australia’s first retail hydrogen station. The equipment was designed by Pdc-Ivys and can facilitate the fleet of vehicles initially with around 140 kg/week of hydrogen, which can be easily expanded in the future. The capacity can be increase by adding a second compressor in the existing enclosure and additional storage tubes on the pad. The refuelling speed of the station is also recorded to be remarkable, as a Hyundai Nexo with a range of 380 miles (612 km) is refuelled in 5 to 6 minutes with pre-cooled 700 bar hydrogen.
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