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Energy #transition is asking infrastructure for Hydrogen
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Energy #transition is asking infrastructure for Hydrogen
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Transportation Transportation Hydrogen

The energy transition is also visible along the road:
Hydrogen fuel tank
in addition to charging stations, the first filling stations for green hydrogen appear. Ports and transport companies also need to prepare to be able to switch to this. However, hydrogen does not always have to be transported by road, it can also be produced locally, proving various regional initiatives.
Who thinks of hydrogen often thinks of explosions. Was not the hydrogen bomb the most powerful we had? In theory everything can go wrong, but in practice it turns out to be very easy. The risks of road transport of hydrogen mainly arise when the liquid hydrogen warms up by a neighboring fire, feed stream or sunbeams, the Amsterdam Fire Department knows, when it gets a shock, comes into contact with chemical reactions or when a sudden loss of pressure occurs. The substance in the tanker can then start cooking, which can lead to a so-called BLEVE, a 'Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapor Explosion': a large fireball.

Tankable battery

However, the effects can be prevented by taking a number of measures, and unlike many other raw materials, an explosion of hydrogen does not lead to all kinds of toxic substances, but especially to water. In the case of hydrogen, many politicians no longer think of a bomb or an important raw material for industry, but especially of a type of tankable battery: by converting water into an electrolysis device on renewable energy in hydrogen, a substance is created that burns again yields energy and water. In fact, hydrogen has now become a storage medium for wind and solar energy, enabling cars, trucks and fork-lift trucks to move CO2-neutral. We also consider applications for air and maritime transport.

The technology is there, which often still lacks the infrastructure. The British Minister of Transport, John Hayes, therefore wants to oblige all larger filling stations and filling stations along motorways to install charging stations for electric cars and hydrogen pumps. His government is also investing 1.2 billion pounds to prepare the current infrastructure for electric transport and hydrogen cars. Germany is also investing heavily: by the end of the year it hopes to have one hundred hydrogen stations.

Groningen (Netherlands)

In the Netherlands we do not seem that far yet, but that can change quickly. Currently there are a few locations, including in Helmond and Rhoon. Pitpoint is also building a hydrogen filling station in Delfzijl in Groningen. The initiators receive money from the EU for this, which provides support for running 100 hydrogen buses in the Netherlands. Trials were also started in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Noord-Brabant.

Parties such as Gasunie, tank companies Pitpoint and Green Planet and car manufacturers Toyota and Hyundai expect to build many more hydrogen filling stations in the northern Netherlands in the coming years. The region hopes to combine the departure of the Groningergas with the introduction of a green hydrogen economy: hydrogen from electrolysis that is powered by energy from windmills at sea. The old gas infrastructure can be used to a large extent to transport the hydrogen gas, according to the certification organization DNV-GL.
Graphic about how #Hydrogen works

Hydrogen Council

In addition to governments, the development of hydrogen stations is driven by multinationals such as Shell and Daimler, who want to accelerate the development of hydrogen as a fuel. During the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2017, 13 multinationals set up the 'Hydrogen Council', with which they jointly invest 10 billion euros in hydrogen development until 2023.

Unlike the charging of electric batteries, hydrogen refueling only takes a few minutes. This makes it an attractive option for companies where time is an important factor. The American Wallmarkt has already converted 5500 vehicles to hydrogen. The fuel cell on board converts the hydrogen into electricity and water while driving.

Chicken or egg
Chicken with one leg on a brown egg

What was first?

The use of green hydrogen as a fuel not only allows the cars to use renewable energy at the moment that wind and sun let it go, but also contributes to a clean environment. This can be important for both the quality of the transported products and for employees and local residents. In addition, the fuel cells require less maintenance, which saves companies maintenance costs.

Although the advantages of hydrogen as a carrier of green energy seem clear, it requires major investments to build the necessary infrastructure. Dutch companies seem reluctant to invest in switching as long as there are insufficient refueling points, and potential suppliers of refueling points remain hesitant as long as there is insufficient demand for the hydrogen. Apart from subsidizing, that chicken-and-egg situation could be broken by bundling customers or locally generating the required hydrogen, says Willem Stehouwer from Toyota Netherlands.

Scale size

For large players such as Shell or Air Liquide, the offering of green hydrogen commercially is only interesting if they can sell more than 100 kilos per day, Stehouwer knows, but companies have many more reasons to get started: they save time for changing batteries, for example, or want their CO2 reduce emissions. If you take these factors into account, a hydrogen filling station will also become profitable for much smaller quantities.

With this in mind, the company joins forces with the municipality of Ede, Greenpoint and a number of neighboring companies. The windmill that has to start electrolysis is in the meantime, the electrolator itself will follow this year. As soon as the hydrogen filling station opens, forklift trucks and hydrogen trucks from other companies must also be able to refuel.

Rules

A year ago, initiators of public hydrogen filling stations sometimes had problems with municipalities that did not issue permits because they had no framework to test it, says Stehouwer, but nowadays many municipalities have draft guidelines that are no longer a problem. A license for demonstrating and experimenting with the mobile hydrogen filling station that comes on the market in April does not have to last longer than six weeks.

Ede is not alone in its initiative for a tankable hydrogen supply. In the Northern Netherlands, the Duwaal consortium is trying to set up a whole chain of sustainable sustainable hydrogen production. Hydrogen supplier HYGRO, wind turbine manufacturer Lagerwey and research institute Energy research Center of the Netherlands (ECN) set the first 'hydrogen mill' in the world at Wieringermeer in the wind turbine test field of ECN in early 2019. Then the consortium hopes to realize the distribution to at least five hydrogen filling stations and one hundred fuel cell electric trucks.

BY: Fluxenergie

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