Hydrogen is Hot! 584 hydrogen fueling stations in 33 countries, Ways2H expansion, Preem, Siemens and more

January 31, 2021 |

Photo courtesy of JBEC/Tsubasa Engineering

Hydrogen is heating up around the planet – but not in terms of CO2 or GHG emissions – in fact, it can help cool the planet down. What is making hydrogen so hot right now is the news that hydrogen fueling stations are having a dramatic acceleration in growth with 584 hydrogen stations deployed in 33 countries by the end of this year, Ways2H’s fundraising and expansion on new orders and building of new facilities to produce renewable hydrogen, Canada getting one of the world’s largest green hydrogen plants, Preem and Siemens and others moving forward on blue hydrogen, cities like Barcelona powering city buses from green hydrogen, and Hydrogen Council’s latest reports on the path to hydrogen competitiveness.

In today’s Digest, why hydrogen is off to a hot start in 2021, the latest hydrogen news you need to know, an exclusive interview with Ways2H’s CEO, Jean-Louis Kindler, and more.

Ways2H fundraising and growth

“Hydrogen is the new biofuel, without CO2 tailpipe emissions!” – That’s what Ways2H’s CEO, Jean-Louis Kindler told The Digest in an exclusive interview.

News came in from Ways2H and parent company Clean Energy Enterprises about new fundraising for Ways2H as it executes on new orders and builds facilities to produce renewable hydrogen for mobility and power generation.

A bit of background – Ways2H converts municipal solid waste, sewage sludge, plastics and more into renewable hydrogen using a thermochemical process that is carbon-neutral by itself and carbon-negative when paired with carbon capture and storage. Ways2H is developing waste-to-hydrogen production facilities in Japan, California and India, and has new projects in the pipeline in Europe and other locations around the world. Check out The Digest’s 2020 Multi-Slide Guide to Ways2H here for more background on the company and tech.

Back to the news – just days ago, Ways2H Inc. and its parent company Clean Energy Enterprises announced they engaged capital markets advisory firm ECMB Capital Partners Inc. as part of efforts to increase Ways2H’s financial capabilities as it pursues new commercial projects around the world.

“With global demand for renewable hydrogen growing quickly, investors are increasingly interested in this sector and we see significant opportunities for Ways2H’s innovative technology in this space,” ECMB’s Managing Partner, John A. Costigan, said. “We are thrilled for the opportunity to be part of Ways2H’s exciting growth trajectory at this key moment in its development.”

“With the deployment of our first renewable hydrogen systems onsite, we expect to contract several commercial projects during 2021 and appreciate ECMB’s additional financial expertise as we develop facilities to meet demand for clean hydrogen in Europe, Asia and the Americas,” said Ways2H CEO Jean-Louis Kindler.

So what does this mean for renewable hydrogen market as a whole? Kindler told The Digest, “Today, the industry primarily sees renewable hydrogen coming from electrolysis powered by renewable electricity. This is obviously a great solution but one needs to keep in perspective the fact that the move towards a massive development of Battery Electric Vehicles will directly increase the load on existing power generation infrastructure. This infrastructure is still relying on fossil sources for more than 70% globally. Indeed, the renewable power fraction is steadily increasing, but battery electric vehicles development will add more demand to the grid. Then hydrogen production would also add further load.

“We offer a solution that does not rely on renewable electricity to produce hydrogen, leaving renewable electricity for the needs of the grid,” said Kindler. “Furthermore, we produce hydrogen while solving another global issue: waste management. Landfills, as well as incinerators, are not in public favor and are a source of greenhouse gasses. We propose to use that waste, almost 2 billion tons per year worldwide, and extract the hydrogen it contains in a renewable and clean manner. And this has the potential to be a significant contribution to hydrogen production. 2 billion tons waste would yield approximately 100 million tons hydrogen. The total gasoline consumption in the United States in one year is equivalent to 55 million tons hydrogen. In addition to these global 2 billion tons, the Oak Ridge National Lab “Billion Ton Report” states there is a potential of 1 billion tons biomass available in the United States. This is another potential 50 million tons hydrogen, almost enough to cover the country’s gasoline consumption.”

Photo courtesy of JBEC/Tsubasa Engineering

Ways2H projects

When asked for details on their projects, Kindler told The Digest, “We are currently building two transportable modular systems that are due to be delivered, one in Tokyo very soon and another one in California within Q2 2021. In addition, we are in discussion with an Indian partner to deploy another of these modular systems in India before the end of the year.”

“Furthermore, we are in active discussions with prospects for larger stationary plants in the US, France, Spain, the UK as well as eastern European countries,” said Kindler. “Most of these projects are motivated by the pressing need for waste processing operators to find alternatives to landfills, particularly for plastic waste. These companies see an additional benefit in the opportunity of being part of the development of the worldwide hydrogen production infrastructure.”

“Our standard stationary system design processes 24 tons of waste per day, for a 1 to 1.5 ton hydrogen yield,” said Kindler. “This is enough hydrogen to fill approximately 200 to 300 passenger vehicles’ tank. Interestingly, it is the number of vehicles serviced by the average gasoline stand in the US.”

What the future holds for Ways2H?

“In one year, we will have at least two or three of those stationary systems under construction,” said Kindler. “In five years, we should reach several dozens, following the exponential growth of hydrogen fuel infrastructure. To use the same gasoline stand analogy, there are about 120,000 gas stands in Europe, for 150 hydrogen fueling stations. In the US, we have 110,000 gasoline stands for a current 80 hydrogen fueling stations. Future stations will have to offer three different kinds of fuels: the gasoline we know (which does include biofuels), electricity for battery electric vehicles, and hydrogen for hydrogen fueled vehicles, should these be fuel cell or converted internal combustion engines.”

“Our systems can easily supply power and hydrogen, from the surrounding waste that unfortunately is plentiful, wherever there is human activity,” said Kindler. “We will be very busy.”

584 Hydrogen fueling stations launched in 33 countries

The hydrogen fueling station market is witnessing a dramatic acceleration in growth, with 584 hydrogen stations deployed by year-end 2020, according to a study released by Information Trends, a market research company.

The study, “Global Market for Hydrogen Fueling Stations, 2021” says the number of countries that have deployed hydrogen stations now stands at 33, with more countries gearing up to enter the market. The deployments are a positive sign for the uptake of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles from Hyundai, Toyota, and Honda, said Naqi Jaffery, the President and CEO of Information Trends.

As hydrogen fuel cell buses and trucks gain greater market acceptance, hydrogen stations for heavy-duty transportation are increasingly being deployed, Mr. Jaffery said. In the next few years, he added, hydrogen fuel cells will be widely used to drive trains, aircraft, and maritime vessels.

Japan is a clear global leader in deployments with close to 150 hydrogen stations, Mr. Jaffery said, but the fastest growth is in China where more than a hundred hydrogen stations have gone into operation.

By 2035, the study said, hydrogen stations will blanket most of the United States, Western Europe, China, Japan, and South Korea. The sums of money being poured into hydrogen station deployments are staggering, mostly raised through public-private partnerships.

More on the study here.

Canada getting one of world’s largest green hydrogen plant

As reported in The Digest just a week ago, German-based thyssenkrupp Uhde Chlorine Engineers’ Green Hydrogen product division was awarded an engineering contract to install an 88 megawatt (MW) water electrolysis plant for Canadian energy company Hydro-Québec after successfully completing a feasibility study. Green hydrogen is generated from hydropower by means of electricity and is used to produce biofuels.

Hydro-Québec will operate one of the world’s first and most powerful electrolyzers for the production of green hydrogen. Hydro-Québec, a state-owned company, is one of the largest hydropower suppliers in North America due to the enormous hydraulic energy resources in the province of Quebec.

The water electrolysis plant will be built in Varennes, Quebec, and is to produce 11,100 metric tons of green hydrogen annually. Both the hydrogen and the oxygen, a by-product of the electrolysis process, will be used in a biofuel plant to produce biofuels from residual waste for the transportation sector.

With a capacity of 88 MW, this plant will be one of the world’s first and biggest production facilities for green hydrogen. Commissioning is scheduled for late 2023.

Hydrogen reports show hydrogen is poised to grow

Also a week ago, The Digest reported on Hydrogen Council’s latest report on the “Path to hydrogen competitiveness” which provides an evidence base on the path to cost competitiveness for 40 hydrogen technologies used in 35 applications.

Surprisngly, that’s not the only recent hydrogen study – The Digest reported also in January on Deloitte and Ballard’s “Fueling the Future of Mobility” report that focuses on the future of transportation and mobility with hydrogen and fuel cells.

Blue hydrogen

The Digest also reported in January on several companies that are moving forward on blue hydrogen.

In Sweden, the collaboration between Vattenfall and Swedish fuel company Preem, aimed at producing fossil-free hydrogen for biofuel production, is entering the next phase. A study is now being conducted to examine opportunities for building a large-scale production facility at the refinery in Lysekil in Sweden.

Preem’s target of producing 5 million cubic meters of biofuel by 2030 may result in a reduction of transport emissions of up to 12.5 million tons of carbon dioxide, equivalent to about 20 per cent of Sweden’s total emissions. This shift in production will require a sizable supply of hydrogen.

Not to be left out of the blue hydrogen up-swing, in the UAE, Siemens Energy and Mubadala Investment Company, the Abu Dhabi state-owned global investment firm, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the intention of creating a strategic partnership to drive investment and development of advanced technology, manufacture of equipment, and green hydrogen and synthetic fuel production. The initial focus of activity will be in Abu Dhabi and over time it is planned that this will be extended to other international markets.

In addition, together with Masdar, one of the world’s leading renewable energy companies, Siemens Energy announced that it is joining forces with the Abu Dhabi Department of Energy, Etihad Airways, Lufthansa, Marubeni Corporation and Khalifa University on an ambitious project that will help pave the way for the development of the UAE’s green hydrogen economy.

Cities getting in on the action

As reported in The Digest, also in January, Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona (TMB) in Spain chose Iberdrola’s bid to supply hydrogen from renewable sources to power its fleet of city buses from 2021. To do this, the company will build and operate a hydrogen plant on a 5,000-square-metre plot on the Zona Franca industrial area, leased from the Consorcio de la Zona Franca, which the TMB buses equipped with this technology will use. There is also potential to introduce the same technology into any other vehicle fleets and industries on the industrial estate that opt for green hydrogen to meet their energy needs.

The hydrogen plant in the Zona Franca will be the first public facility of its type in Spain, and it will distribute renewable hydrogen produced by electrolysis. At the same time, TMB has purchased eight buses with state-of-the-art hydrogen technology, which will be delivered to Barcelona in November 2021, with the intention of putting them into service in early 2022.

Bottom Line

January was quite possibly the hottest month for hydrogen that we’ve seen in a while with the sheer volume of reports, research, news, plans, expansion, and actual usage of hydrogen in the real world. We don’t expect hydrogen news to be slowing down anytime soon so stay tuned for more of it in 2021.

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