For Gasoline Cell Vans, Nikola Cooks Up Hydrogen Fueling Station On-The-Go


For all of the arguments towards inexperienced hydrogen, main international power stakeholders simply can’t appear to maintain their palms off the stuff. The newest one to pile on is Fortescue Future Industries. FFI has simply teamed up with the gasoline cell truck startup Nikola, with the concept of scaling up inexperienced hydrogen manufacturing within the US for gasoline cell vans. Nikola has cooked up an fascinating resolution to the hydrogen fueling station conundrum, too.

Extra Inexperienced Hydrogen For The US

For these of you new to the subject, gasoline cell autos run on electrical energy, similar to their battery powered cousins. The distinction is that gasoline cells produce electrical energy on the fly, by catalyzing a chemical response between hydrogen and air. Battery-electric autos retailer their electrical energy in, properly, a battery.

The US Division of Power kickstarted the battery-electric car craze in 2010, when it awarded a $465 million greenback mortgage to a small-batch maker of luxurious electrical sports activities automobiles referred to as Tesla Motors. The mortgage enabled Tesla to start producing the Mannequin S, a considerably extra inexpensive sedan for the mass market, in 2012.

In distinction, gasoline cell autos have been gradual to catch on. On prime of different issues, hydrogen has been problematic as a result of the main supply of the worldwide hydrogen provide is pure fuel, together with different fossil sources.

The explosive development of the inexperienced hydrogen business, made doable by the low price of wind and photo voltaic power, has flipped the script on the pure fuel downside. The primary focus of inexperienced hydrogen exercise entails electrolysis, through which electrical energy from renewable sources is deployed to push hydrogen fuel from water.

The Power Division is amongst these constructing momentum for a home inexperienced hydrogen financial system within the US, partly with the help of a brand new $8 billion funding pot to determine regional H2 hubs across the nation.

However The place Are The Fueling Stations?

Inexperienced hydrogen or not, one other strike towards gasoline cell autos is the dearth of fueling stations. That can be resolved, ultimately, similar to the charging station state of affairs is resolving for battery-electric autos.

In a single fascinating instance, again in 2017 the Power Division promoted a inexperienced hydrogen gasoline station referred to as SimpleFuel, a small, modular all-in-one H2 system that produces its personal inexperienced hydrogen on the spot. The thought gave the impression to be gradual on the uptake, however in latest months it has picked up steam below the umbrella of the agency PDC Machines.

Nikola has provide you with an answer of its personal. At a press occasion on Thursday afternoon, the corporate introduced the launch of its HYLA hydrogen model, together with a plan to determine 60 new hydrogen gasoline stations in California, and in Colton, Ontario by 2026, together with a facility serving the Port of Lengthy Seashore.

That’s not essentially the most fascinating half, although. Nikola additionally launched its plans to ferry hydrogen to its clients with the assistance of a fueling station on wheels, which it calls the “HYLA Versatile Cell Fueler.”

Nikola describes HYLA as an “integral a part of Nikola’s versatile customer support in its early years.”

“The cellular fueler cools and compresses hydrogen to quickly fill 700 bar FCEV heavy-duty vans,” Nikola explains. “Coupled with a hydrogen tube trailer with a capability of 960 kg, the cellular fueler can refuel buyer vans back-to-back.”

Nikola reported that the primary of its cellular fuelers is already in business operation, with others coming in Q1 this yr. The corporate anticipates deploying third-party fuelers along with its personal fleet.

Extra Inexperienced Hydrogen For Extra Gasoline Cell Vans

Nikola launched in 2014 with an preliminary plan to provide its gasoline cell vans with inexperienced hydrogen. The corporate has had its ups and downs since then, together with a run-in with the Securities and Alternate Fee, and it stays to be seen if the inexperienced hydrogen provide can sustain with total demand for hydrogen.

Nonetheless, there are indicators of progress in direction of the imaginative and prescient of zero emission mobility powered by inexperienced hydrogen. That features a new collaboration between Nikola and the corporate Plug Energy, which can also be within the inexperienced hydrogen camp.

Additionally on crew inexperienced hydrogen is Fortescue Future Industries, an offshoot of the worldwide mining large Fortescue. On January 24, FFI and Nikola signed a Memorandum of Understanding to discover massive scale inexperienced hydrogen manufacturing within the US.

As for gross sales of its Tre class 8 heavy obligation gasoline cell vans, Nikola has been choosing up steam.

Earlier this week, Nikola and its three way partnership companion Iveco (a part of the Iveco Group) introduced that the paperwork is in to ship 100 European variants of its Tre gasoline cell vans to the German transportation and logistics fleet operator GP Joule.

The vans can be manufactured in Ulm. The plan is to ship the primary 30 subsequent yr and 70 extra in 2025.

Who’s Gonna Pay For All This?

Nikola states that the order of 100 gasoline cell vans is contingent on GP Joule’s software for funding by way of KsNI, a German program that helps electrical autos. It seems that Iveco will not be ready for the ink to dry. The corporate is already hatching plans for extra gasoline cell vans with GP Joule, starting in 2026, to be fueled with inexperienced hydrogen at GP Joule’s fueling stations.

Curiosity in gasoline cell vans additionally seems to be choosing up within the US, although at a considerably slower tempo — for now. Nikola is only one of scores of US automotive stakeholders looking for a foothold within the hydrogen-powered transportation discipline.

Final Thursday, Nikola additionally introduced that the California logistics firm Biagi Bros. Inc. has an order in for 15 Tre gasoline cell vans, which it expects to ship earlier than the tip of this yr.

The corporate plans to gasoline up its new gasoline cell vans at its headquarters in Ontario, California. No phrase but if inexperienced hydrogen is a part of the plan. The main fuel firm Linde has a inexperienced hydrogen plant in Ontario, however the cope with Biagi entails a Nikola fueling station.

CleanTechnica is reaching out to Biagi for extra info on that. In the meantime, house owners of the Tre gasoline cell truck can look ahead to a hefty incentive package deal, if all goes in line with plan.

As of this writing, Nikola is ready on remaining approval to enlist within the California Air Sources Board Hybrid and Zero Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Mission (HVIP). If it wins approval, Nikola clients can attempt to qualify for a California state incentive valued between $240,000 and $288,000 per truck, relying on fleet measurement, operations, and site.

The federal Inflation Discount Act additionally chips in one other $40,000 in tax credit for autos bought this yr.

Including to the pile is a $2 million grant from the US Division of Power in 2021, for Nikola to develop an autonomous gasoline station system.

That’s nothing in comparison with a possible $1.2 billion grant Nikola is looking for from the US Division of Power, in help of its Phoenix Hydrogen Hub challenge in Arizona. The corporate’s software handed a Stage I evaluation final December and they’re at the moment ready on the outcomes of Stage II.

As of this writing the Phoenix challenge is a catch-all that features hydrogen sourced from pure fuel in addition to inexperienced hydrogen, in accord with federal insurance policies that proceed to help pure fuel. Nevertheless, it stays to be seen if any consumers can be fascinated about fossil-sourced hydrogen as soon as the inexperienced hydrogen business scales up.

Comply with me on Trainwreck Twitter @TinaMCasey.

Discover me on LinkedIn: @TinaMCasey or Mastodon: @Casey or Publish:  @tinamcasey

Picture: Tre gasoline cell vans courtesy of Nikola.




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