HydrogeNXT, a California based company, has developed a blueprint for a small-footprint, scalable, and standardized hydrogen fueling station that processes natural gas or biogas with small amounts of water and electricity to produce dispensable, cost-effective hydrogen fuel on-site using a steam methane reformer (SMR).
Though battery electric vehicles are very much in the news, they come with many disadvantages, including the long time required for charging, their short range, the scarcity of minerals required for the batteries, and their impact on the environment.
Hydrogen powered fuel-cell vehicles, on the other hand, derive energy from natural gas obtained through the processing of biomass derived from animal waste. The byproduct of making natural gas is carbon, which is burned in a furnace and can be used for earning carbon credits. The residual waste after the release of methane serves as fertilizer. When a car runs on hydrogen, the byproduct produced is water, which causes no pollution at all. Use of hydrogen as the fuel can reduce a car’s carbon footprint by as much as 89%. The impact is even higher in the case of large trucks such as the 18 wheelers that are commonly used for the transportation of goods over long distances in North America.
One of the key barriers to wider adoption of hydrogen fuel technology was the lack of hydrogen fueling stations and the prohibitive cost of building the required fueling infrastructure, enabling consumers to purchase and drive hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (FCVs). With the introduction of new incentives from the Federal and State governments in California, HydrogenXT is seeking to make hydrogen fuel available on a much wider basis through its advanced technology.
The company has already received a patent for its innovative design in February 2014 and is currently in the process of building a pilot station in California. After completion of this pilot, the plan is to use privately raised investment capital in conjunction with federal and state funds to deploy a network of stations throughout California and other states with Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) standards.
“Our long-term goal is to support the roll-out of the next-generation zero-emissions fuel cell vehicles across the United States. Our proprietary technology makes it possible for SMRs to operate on biogas. It can not only reduce emissions from cars but also reduce levels of methane in the atmosphere, which is a greenhouse gas. With funding in place, we aim to set up 10 hydrogen fueling stations in 2023 throughout California. This is a very lucrative investment opportunity while providing a significant positive impact on the environment. Leading manufacturers like General Motors, Hyundai, BMW, and Porsche are producing hydrogen-powered vehicles and with all the advantages that hydrogen fuel offers, it is definitely poised to be the fuel of the future.”