JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – A potentially far-reaching step has been taken towards the viable roll-out of hydrogen refuelling infrastructure for platinum-using fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) with the commercial launch of a system that allows hydrogen to be stored and transported in conventional fuel infrastructure.
The hydrogen storage and logistics system, which uses innovative liquid organic hydrogen carrier (LOHC) technology, has been launched by Anglo American Platinum- (Amplats-) backed developer Hydrogenious Technologies of Germany, which is entering the US market in partnership with United Hydrogen Group.
The patented technology reportedly facilitates the safe and efficient storage of hydrogen in an easily transportable oil, which eliminates the need for pressurised hydrogen tanks.
The LOHC material used by Hydrogenious Technologies is nontoxic and nonexplosive.
The development is seen as a breakthrough towards a sustainable hydrogen economy, which is needed to underpin the introduction of FCEVs.
Amplats executive marketing head Andrew Hinkly said in a release to Creamer Media’s Mining Weekly Online that the inauguration laid the pathway for the first commercial deliveries and a growing order book.
The company said that the system featured various new technologies, including a polymer electrolyte membrane electrolyser, which generated hydrogen using solar power, and a storage box that used LOHC for loss-free storage over extended periods of time.
With the first demonstration of the LOHC technology on a commercial scale, Hydrogenious Technologies – in which Amplats is a shareholder – proved its technology leadership in the area of hydrogen storage.
Hydrogenious Technologies’ manufacturing plant in Erlangen had been formally inaugurated at an event attended by key government and business officials including Bavarian Economic Affairs Minister Ilse Aigner, FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg president Professor Joachim Hornegger, Siemens Hydrogen Solutions CEO Dr Katharina Beumelburg and H2 Mobility CEO Frank Sreball.
The investment in Hydrogenious Technologies formed part of Amplats' commitment to support early stage technologies and innovative industrial applications that used or enabled the use of platinum group metals.
Amplats invested in Hydrogenious Technologies’ first financing round in 2014.
The developments demonstrated the progress they have made in furthering product development and commercialisation.
“We are hugely proud of what Hydrogenious Technologies have been able to achieve in what has been a rather short space of time,” said Hinkly.
Two LOHC systems and other related equipment had been supplied to US hydrogen distribution company United Hydrogen Group to increase delivery ranges and decrease the operating costs of hydrogen logistics.
The agreement clinched also enabled Hydrogenious Technologies to enter the US market, which was expected to hasten the use of FCEVs in the world’s largest market for merchant hydrogen.
As the transportation distances were long, hydrogen logistics companies were currently incurring significant costs for hydrogen transportation.
“LOHC technology turns even long-distance hydrogen transport into profitable business,” said Hydrogenious Technologies CEO Daniel Teichmann.