The Hydrogen Stream: More hydrogen for the port of Rotterdam


Netherlands’ Port of Rotterdam Authority and Koole Terminals teamed up with Japanese company Chiyoda’s hydrogen storage and transportation technology and Mitsubishi Corporation for commercial development. The project continues assessment of commercial-scale import of hydrogen from overseas sources to Northern Europe, through the port of Rotterdam “Chiyoda Corporation has developed the Spera Hydrogen technology to release hydrogen from MCH [Methylcyclohexane]. MCH is produced from toluene through hydrogenation process,” reads the note released last week. Chiyoda, Mitsubishi, Mitsui, and Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha, completed in 2020 their demonstration project focused on the long distance transportation (5000km) and storage of hydrogen. MCH was produced in Brunei and shipped to Japan; toluene was then sent back to Brunei. Mitsubishi Corporation will lead the commercial development of the project. The feasibility study is expected to take one year. “It is the ambition of the companies to import 100 to 200 ktpa hydrogen in 2025 and 300 to 400 ktpa in 2030.”

The British government expects to produce hydrogen from nuclear, reads a note released last week. “A Call for Evidence, published today (29 July), sets out the government’s suggested approach to building the first advanced modular reactor (AMR) demonstrator. This will specifically explore high temperature gas reactors (HTGRs) as the most promising model for the demonstration programme, which ministers are investing £170 million into delivering by the early 2030s,” reads the note, adding that “HTGRs will also be able to generate low-carbon hydrogen.” Also last week, the British government encouraged fleet operators to convert to battery-electric vehicles for road freight, while supporting Scotland’s hydrogen truck feasibility study. “It’s great news that a study involving Scottish utility, logistics companies and the University of St Andrews to design a potential trial for hydrogen fuel cell trucks and new refuelling infrastructure has received a share of £20 million UK government funding,” commented UK government minister for Scotland Iain Stewart. The UK should present its hydrogen strategy this week. Michael Liebreich, Founder of BloombergNEF and adviser to the UK Board of Trade, wrote on Twitter that “if new nuclear is to have any chance of succeeding it will be by being paired with demand-responsive processes like electrolysis or desalination. But the idea of making H2 only with excess power on sunny or windy days is daft: the economics won't work.” The Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy published last week a safety assessment of hydrogen in domestic properties and buildings, explaining that “all hydrogen appliances must be new” and that “the proposed hydrogen base case ignition probability for weak electrical sources is 0.2 i.e. a four-fold increase from that of natural gas (0.05).”

Japan’s automotive manufacturer Toyota is looking into geothermal potential for hydrogen production. “In Kokonoe Town, Oita Prefecture, Obayashi is engaged in a demonstration project for the integrated production of green hydrogen using geothermal power for the first time in Japan,” reads the note released last week. The company also entered a vehicle equipped with a developmental hydrogen-powered engine at the five-hour-long Super Taikyu Race in Autopolis (July 31 to August 1). “By entering a hydrogen-powered vehicle that uses green hydrogen produced locally in Kyushu, Toyota intends to further strengthen the hydrogen-centered partnerships it enjoys with other industries in Kyushu.”

Estonia-based PowerUp Energy Technologies, which produces hydrogen fuel cell-based electric generators and proton exchange membrane fuel cells, signed a contract with the European Space Agency to develop a 1kW liquid-cooled closed cathode hydrogen fuel cell stack for Lunar and Mars exploration missions. The closed cathode hydrogen fuel cells will be used on Lunar cargo ships (Lunar nights survival) and potentially also on rovers. “This stack would serve as an additional energy source that will be integrated with solar panels and batteries. In cases where the solar panels could not be used to charge the batteries such as during nighttime, that is when our stack will come into play. I believe fuel cell systems have a great potential in space missions to the Moon or to Mars,” Ivar Kruusenberg, CEO of PowerUP Energy Technologies, commented. The Estonian start-up reported that one of the major goals of this project is to reduce the complexity of fuel cell systems and substitute ancillary systems with non-moving parts. “While the first prototype of the stack is expected to be completed by 2023, the project has already kicked off this month,” reads the note released on Monday.

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Indian automotive manufacturer Maruti Suzuki is considering hydrogen in the attempt to counterbalance its reliance on imported lithium, Maruti Chairman R.C. Bhargava told shareholders in the company's annual report. “I have no doubt that the large resources that are now being deployed for technology development will lead to lowering the cost of EVs and reducing dependence on Lithium, procurement of which poses some strategic issues of national importance,” Bhargava said, adding that the CNG and hybrid cars remain the two most promising options. “Thus, these two technologies, coupled with biofuels, gives the country a means of moving towards the final goal of net zero emission. The use of hydrogen is also an interesting alternative and should be considered specially to reduce dependence on importing lithium,” elaborated Bhargava on Monday.

US-based electric company Entergy wrote last week that it has begun the process to seek approval to construct the Orange County Advanced Power Station, a 1,215-megawatt, dual-fuel combined cycle power facility. “The plant will be located near Bridge City, Texas and will be capable of powering more than 230,000 homes and use a combination of natural gas and hydrogen,” said the company lat week. The company wants to store hydrogen in facilities such as in Entergy Texas’s Spindletop storage facility. “Southeast Texas is well-positioned to play a key role in the transition to increased use of hydrogen in electric generation,” said Sallie Rainer, president and CEO of Entergy Texas, adding that the area could become “a global hub for hydrogen production and consumption.”


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