The Hydrogen Stream: Alstom moves forward with world’s first hydrogen train, Chile seeks proposal for hydrogen projects


French train manufacturer Alstom said that hydrogen trains offer a cost-efficient alternative for 46% of mainline tracks in the EU that aren’t electrified, adding that its Coradia iLint is now ready for commercial deployment. Coradia iLint is reportedly the world’s first hydrogen train. “After 18 months in passenger service, we are very pleased with the performance of the Alstom Coradia iLint fuel cell hydrogen trains. The technology is now tried and true ticking all boxes: sustainability, economic viability and customer satisfaction. We can’t wait to have the first serial trains in operation,” commented Carmen Schwabl, CEO of Lower Saxony Transport Authority, during an event organized on Wednesday.

Building a low-carbon hydrogen economy can be a crucial cornerstone in achieving the goals of the Paris climate agreement, reads the study “Laying the foundations of a low carbon hydrogen market in Europe” by Strategy&, the strategy consulting arm of management consulting firm PwC. According to the report, global demand for hydrogen will almost double from 71 to 137 million metric tons per year by 2040, compared with 2019. The growth will be primarily due to the decarbonization of various sectors such as transportation, aviation and industry. Demand is expected to reach 519 million metric tons by 2070.

Chile‘s Economic Development Agency, Corfo, and the Ministry of Energy launched the first call for funding Green Hydrogen projects in the South American country.”National and foreign companies that want to develop and implement a green hydrogen production project greater than 10 MW that will be operational no later than December 2025 may apply. To this end, resources for a maximum of 30 million dollars will be provided to one or more projects,” the call states. The deadline to apply for Chile’s first call is September 6, 2021.

Australia will spend US$213.07 million to develop hydrogen, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Wednesday, adding that $203.94 million will be invested in carbon capture storage (CCS) projects. The announcement came on Wednesday ahead of the ongoing Climate Summit organized by US President Joe Biden. “I want Australia and hydrogen technology to be synonymous around the world,” he commented, adding that the government wants to invest in four regional hubs, while implementing a certification scheme. According to an article published in The Conversation by Michelle Grattan, potential areas for the hubs include Latrobe Valley (Victoria), Darwin (Northern Territory), the Pilbara (Western Australia), Gladstone (Queensland), the Hunter Valley (NSW), Bell Bay (Tasmania) and the Eyre Peninsula (South Australia).

Meanwhile, Japan and South Korea are looking into a stronger hydrogen collaboration with Australia. “Santos is already attracting strong interest from Japanese and Korean customers and investors who are looking to reduce emissions from coal-fired power stations using hydrogen and the possibility of shipping their CO2 to Australia for permanent storage,” said Kevin Gallagher, managing director and CEO of the Australian energy company, on Wednesday.

Queensland-based aerospace firm Hypersonix Launch Systems has announced a partnership with Linde’s subsidiary BOC. The deal will see Hypersonix use green hydrogen produced by solar electrolysis as rocket fuel to launch re-useable satellites into lower earth orbit. “Both the automotive and the aviation sectors are well along the path to making the use of hydrogen fuel as a clean fuel option for day-to-day use,” commented Chris Dolman, business development manager of clean hydrogen at BOC.

The H2SITE consortium, created a year ago by Spain's Tecnalia in collaboration with the French company Engie and the University of Eindhoven (TUe), is building a plant in the Spanish Basque Country for the industrialization of its membranes. These reactors “use very little electrical energy, only a few tens of kilowatts, because we do not use electricity to obtain hydrogen, as is the case with electrolysis,” Andrés Galnares, CEO of H2SITE, told pv magazine. “In terms of hydrogen production capacity, our intention is to design systems that can go up to 4,000 kg per day,” he added.

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Barcelona-based Carburos Metálicos, a subsidiary of US-headquartered Air Products active in the industrial and medical gases sector, will provide hydrogen for local transportation in Oviedo, the capital of Asturias. Local transportation company Transportes Unidos de Asturias (TUA) will operate the first urban bus line in Spain running on renewable hydrogen. The testing phase will last three months. “Our participation in this new project exemplifies our collaborative strategy to promote the creation of a hydrogen ecosystem in Spain,” said Miquel Lope, general manager of Carburos Metálicos and vice president of Air Products in Southern Europe and the Maghreb.

Japanese car manufacturer Toyota announced on Thursday that it is developing a hydrogen engine for motorsports. “It has installed the engine on a racing vehicle based on Toyota's Corolla Sport, which it will enter in competition under the ORC ROOKIE Racing banner starting with the Super Taikyu Series 2021 Powered by Hankook Round 3 NAPAC Fuji Super TEC 24 Hours Race on May 21-23,” reads a press note.

US-based oil and gas companies Chevron and Toyota Motor North America signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on commercially viable, large-scale businesses in hydrogen. The focus of the strategic collaboration will be on fuel cell electric vehicles and joint research and development activities in hydrogen-powered transportation and storage.

Zero-emission vehicles manufacturer Nikola Corporation and TravelCenters of America, the largest publicly-traded operator of full-service travel centers in the United States, have agreed to collaborate on the installation of hydrogen fueling stations for heavy-duty trucks at two existing TA-Petro sites. “This collaboration is a first step for the parties to explore the mutual development of a nationwide network of hydrogen fueling stations. The collaboration is subject to negotiation and execution of definitive documentation acceptable to the parties,” reads a press release published on Thursday. The first stations should be commercially operational by Q1 2023.


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