The Anonymous Widower

Hydrogen Is A Top Contender In The Race To Zero-Carbon

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Forbes.

It is written by influential academics at the Gutierrez Energy Management Institute at the University of Houston, who make some strong points about hydrogen.

  • Hydrogen can’t by mined or extracted without a manufacturing process.
  • They are warm on electrolysis. Does the US have an electrolyser factory?
  • Hydrogen is ideal for medium trucks upwards.
  • Research into hydrogen deployment is needed.
  • I don’t think, that they’re impressed with Government response.
  • Although they do say that the European Commission’s plan with $75billion of funds to deploy the technology is ambitious.

But their strongest comments are reserved for a comparison between the heavy trucks of Tesla and Nikola.

July 24, 2020 Posted by | Hydrogen | , | 5 Comments

Nikola Badger

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Business Insider.

This is the sub-title of the article.

An electric pickup truck with a longer range than Tesla’s Cybertruck will soon be up for pre-order — check out the Nikola Badger.

From the picture in the article, it certainly seems to have the right style.

Could this be the vehicle that promotes the growth of hydrogen as a vehicle fuel in the United States?

But not just in the United States!

I lived in rural Suffolk for forty years and I can think of several people, for whom this truck would be the ideal business pickup, that gave the right image to their customers.

Hydrogen Infrastructure

A hydrogen vehicle is no good without infrastructure.

This is a paragraph from the article.

Nikola also announced that it is planning on opening 700 hydrogen stations in North America.

In Startup Nikola Bets Hydrogen Will Finally Break Through With Big Rigs, I said this.

They will also make their hydrogen filling station network available to car makes.

I think this is the way to go.

 

June 10, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Hyundai, Nikola And Toyota Start To Build The Hydrogen Highway

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Trucks.com.

It is a must-read article.

 

 

November 13, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hydrogen Truck Startup Nikola’s Valuation Jumps To $3 Billion With Investment From CNH Industrial

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Forbes.

This is the first paragraph.

Nikola Motor, an Arizona startup that wants to shake up the trucking world with zero-emission hydrogen and battery-powered semis, is making progress toward a $1 billion fundraising goal to get its technology on the road as CNH Industrial committed to a quarter of that amount.

Note that CNH is the company, that owns Iveco.

If you read the whole article, you will find the following.

  • Nikola Motor have a simple model based on hydrogen-powered trucks and a network of zero-carbon hydrogen filling stations.
  • They are backed by large well-known companies like Bosch.
  • Hydrogen-powered trucks should be lighter in weight than battery-powered ones like the Tesla Semi.

Given the financial backing seems to be flowing to Nikola Motor and the simple business model, I feel the company’s objectives may be attained.

Would Nikola Motor’s Business Model Work In The UK?

Consider.

  • UK heavy trucks may be smaller than some American big rigs, but are very similar, if not the same to those used all over Europe, with the driver’s seat on the other side.
  • Many large users of heavy trucks, deliver goods from a large distribution centre, seaport or airport.
  • The UK’s power network is generally reliable and is increasingly powered by renewable sources.
  • Parts of the UK are developing a hydrogen network.

Because of our electrical grid and hydrogen availability, Nikola Motor’s filling station concept in a densely-populated smaller UK, might be a modified version of that used in the wide-open spaces of North America.

I can’t see any reason why if Nikola Motor’s hydrogen-powered trucks are successful in North America, they wouldn’t be successful in the UK.

A Zero-Carbon Distribution System For A Large Retailer

Retailers like Asda, Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury, Tesco and many others distribute product to their stores by heavy truck, usually from a large distribution centre in the middle of the country.

Tesco even make a lot of fuss about creating less CO2, by moving goods up and down the country by rail.

A Tesco-Branded Train

Because of retailers’ centralised model based on trucks from a distribution depot, using hydrogen-powered trucks, would not require a great change in the method or operation.

  • Diesel traction would be replaced by hydrogen traction.
  • The depot would have a hydrogen filling station, either using locally-created or piped hydrogen.
  • Trucks would leave the depot with enough hydrogen to do a full delivery without refuelling and return to base.

But think of the advertising, if all the company’s heavy trucks displayed proudly that they were hydrogen-powered and emitted no CO2.

As supermarkets are like sheep and follow each others’ good ideas, if it worked for the first company, it wouldn’t be long before several others went down the hydrogen-powered route.

Would Hydrogen P{ower Work With Other Vehicle Fleets?

Many vehicles that I see in London and other large cities are members of large fleets based in those cities.

  • Buses
  • Taxis
  • Delivery vans
  • Cement trucks.
  • Refuse trucks.

If cities are going to effectively ban diesel, there are only two alternatives battery and hydrogen.

Some vehicles will be better suited to battery power, especially if they could be charged overnight at the central depot, but other like double-deck buses and cement trucks may be better suited to hydrogen.

Cement trucks could be a niche market, where Nikola Motor could produce a very attractive package of trucks and a filling station.

Conclusion

If Nikola Motor is successful in the next few years, they could prove that hydrogenpowered vehicles are not a novelty, but a serious zero-carbon alternative, that is affordable.

 

 

 

September 4, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Startup Nikola Bets Hydrogen Will Finally Break Through With Big Rigs

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Forbes.

Read the article, as it is an interesting concept.

  • Nikola Motor will not only build the trucks, but the hydrogen filling station network across North America.
  • They believe big trucks are ideal for hydrogen power.
  • They will also make their hydrogen filling station network available to car makes.
  • The founder of the company; Trevor Milton, claims it’s easier to package hydrogen tanks in big vehicles than small ones.
  • He also claims that hydrogen-powered trucks are much lighter than battery ones.
  • Hydrogen will be produced from renewable sources, where it is needed.
  • They are raising $1.2billion dollars to fund it.

First trucks will be delivered in 2022,, if all goes well with the funding.

I have no idea, whether it will work successfully, but surely a network of hydrogen filling stations, generating their own hydrogen across a Continent could be the kick, that hydrogen power for vehicles needs.

The UK is a small island and comparing it to North America, probably means the concept wouldn’t work in the UK, but if it works in North America, it will work in Europe.

But, if Trevor Milton’s mathematics work for big trucks in North America, they may well work with trains in the UK. A few hydrogen filling stations for trains and locomotives at strategic depots might power a whole new generation of rail vehicles. The rail filling stations could be co-located with filling stations for hydrogen road vehicles.

Trucks In Cities And Large Urban Areas

As I walk around London I see lots of large trucks, that can be put into a few categories.

  • Articulated delivery trucks, often for the big supermarkets.
  • Eight-wheel rigid trucks moving loads of building materials or soil and rubble dug out of construction sites.
  • Refuse trucks.
  • Skip trucks
  • Cement mixer trucks

With the exception of the first, many of these vehicles don’t do a large number of miles in a working day.

Will we see companies like Nikola Motor and others developing hydrogen or battery-powered trucks for these niches?

If they do, I can see some interesting working and fuelling strategies developing.

Would Hydrogen Trucks Be Ideal For Cross-Channel Traffic?

Imagine a journey between Stuttgart and the Toyota plant in Derby.

  • Using the European hydrogen network, the truck arrives at Calais with a low hydrogen level.
  • On arrival in Dover it goes to a convenient hydrogen station and fills up with enough hydrogen to make the five hundred mile return journey to Derby.
  • The return journey to Stuttgart, would use a hydrogen filling station at Calais to speed the truck on it’s way.

Because of the distances involved, I’m sure hydrogen would work for regular high-value truck journeys across the Channel, even if different tractors were used on either side of the Channel, as they often are now!

You could also argue, that this journey would be better done by rail. But if that is the case, why is it so much cross-Channel freight moved by trucks?

Conclusion

Hydrogen will continue to attract innovation and it is not time to write it off yet.

April 16, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 3 Comments