The Hydrogen Stream: Russia unveils hydrogen strategy, Germany provides more funds for power-to-X


On Monday, the Russian government unveiled its hydrogen strategy, which hinged on pilot projects for low-carbon hydrogen and the creation of consortia. “It also provides for the creation of at least three territorial production clusters. Northwest will specialize in the export of hydrogen to European countries and the implementation of measures to reduce the carbon footprint of export-oriented enterprises. Vostochny will supply hydrogen to Asian countries, as well as develop hydrogen infrastructure in the transport and energy sectors. Finally, the Arctic cluster is tasked with providing a low-carbon electricity supply to the Russian Arctic,” reads the document. The main focus will be on steam reforming of methane and coal gasification, combined with carbon capture and utilization (CCU) technologies. “The first stage is designed for the next three and a half years,” Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said in a meeting with other representatives of the government. The large export-oriented production facilities should start operations between 2035 and 2050. “The development of hydrogen energy will reduce the risks of losing energy markets,” concluded Mishustin.

In recognition of power-to-X (PtX) technologies, the German government recently underlined the role of fuels from renewable energy in air and sea transport. It considers the U.S., Australia, Chile, and Argentina the most promising countries for PtX, and confirmed its interest to make public funding available. “In their early stages, new technologies need financial support to get off the ground. This also applies to so-called PtL—power-to-liquid fuels. Alongside regulation, players in this market require assistance in the launch phase,” Federal Minister for the Environment Svenja Schulze said earlier this month. The Federal Ministry for the Environment is supporting the development at two different locations. The Lab in Lausitz should be opened at the end of August, while the Berlin Hub should focus on developing and emerging countries. The National Hydrogen Strategy includes a budget of €600 million which the Federal Ministry for the Environment will use to promote fuels derived from electricity for air and sea travel.

Emirate-based privately-owned special project vehicle company Helios awarded a contract to perform a technical study for a new green hydrogen and green ammonia project to German industrial engineering and steel production company ThyssenKrupp. This move suggests that years of climate diplomacy and a focus on hydrogen from the German government is paying off for German companies, which are expected to maintain a footing in the Middle East, banking on hydrogen-related opportunities. “A water electrolysis plant, as well as a facility for sustainable ammonia production, are planned to be constructed at Kizad in Abu Dhabi, UAE, based on ThyssenKrupp technology. It will be the first commercial plant to produce CO2-free green ammonia from renewable resources in the UAE,” reads the note released on Monday. The last months witnessed an increase in competition between Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, also in the realm of hydrogen production. “We are building both on our innovative technology solutions as well as on ThyssenKrupp's regional and local footprint and long heritage as a partner to the region,” said Sami Pelkonen, CEO of the company's Uhde business unit.

The US Department of Energy (DOE) awarded US$1 million for a collaborative project between three U.S. companies – Southern Company Gas, Electro-Active Technologies, and T2M Global – to advance next-generation clean hydrogen technologies. The project seeks to develop low-cost renewable hydrogen generation for use in transportation and distributed energy applications. “We are excited for this opportunity to work with our partners and the DOE in advancing the wet waste-to-clean hydrogen pathway and to help bring the hydrogen economy to reality,” said Robin Lanier, renewable gas director for Southern Company Gas. The project targets distributed generation of hydrogen from food waste, diverting the waste from landfills.

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U.S.-based hydrogen solutions company Plug Power announced an $84 million investment into a green hydrogen production plant in Georgia, which should produce 15 tons of liquid green hydrogen per day. “Plug Power affirms its continued commitment to establishing the first North American green hydrogen supply network,” reads a note released on Tuesday. It adds that Plug Power is already the largest buyer of liquid hydrogen globally and has built more hydrogen refueling stations than any other company in the world. “Plug Power’s newest production plant is a result of increasing customer demand,” said Sanjay Shrestha, general manager of energy solutions and chief strategy officer for Plug Power. The Camden County plant joins previously announced green hydrogen facilities in South Central Pennsylvania and the Western New York Science, Technology and Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP), through which the company aims to produce more than 500 tons of green hydrogen per day by 2025. “Together with Plug Power’s existing plant in Tennessee, acquired in 2020, and its PEM stack and electrolyzer Innovation Center in Rochester, N.Y., this plant further strengthens the company’s position as a leader in advancing the green hydrogen ecosystem,” reads the note. The Georgia gas production plant is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

British-American hydrogen-electric aircraft developer ZeroAvia achieved its first major milestone for the HyFlyer II program. “The ground test… involved ZeroAvia’s flight-intent 600kW powertrain, pulling ZeroAvia’s new 15-ton HyperTruck mobile ground testing platform across the tarmac. The HyperTruck, developed based on heavy-duty military trucks, is sized for the company’s ZA-2000 2MW+ powertrain, which can be used to test systems for 40-80 seat hydrogen-electric powered aircraft,” reads a note released on Tuesday about the demonstration conducted in California. The program is expected to deliver a hydrogen-electric, zero-emission propulsion system for airframes 10-20 seats in size. “The first milestone test-flights of HyFlyer II’s Dornier 228 aircraft testbed are expected to take place later this year from ZeroAvia’s UK facility in Kemble.” ZeroAvia CEO Val Miftakhov was recently selected to become a member of the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association (FCHEA) Board of Directors.

Indian Railways has tendered a hybrid hydrogen fuel cell and battery-based technology to run trains as part of its efforts to cut emissions as well as fuel costs. Initially, it plans hydrogen power-based conversion of two diesel-electric multiple unit (DEMU) rakes in the 89km Sonipat-Jind section of Northern Railway. The hydrogen fuel cell retrofit kit, along with the balance-of-plant and energy storage and hydrogen storage modules, will replace the existing power-train items onboard 1,600HP DEMUs.

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