The Anonymous Widower

Rolls-Royce To Develop mtu Hydrogen Electrolyser And Invest In Hoeller Electrolyser

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release from Rolls-Royce.

These are the three main points in the press release.

  • Holdings in start-up companies in northern Germany secure Rolls-Royce Power Systems access to key green hydrogen production technology.
  • Electrolysis systems for several megawatts of power.
  • First demonstrator in 2023 using a Hoeller stack.

This is the introductory paragraph to the deal.

Rolls-Royce is entering the hydrogen production market and acquiring a 54% majority stake in electrolysis stack specialist Hoeller Electrolyzer, whose innovative technology will form the basis of a new range of mtu electrolyzer products from its Power Systems division. Hoeller Electrolyzer, based in Wismar, Germany, is an early-stage technology company that is developing highly efficient polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) stacks, under the brand name Prometheus, for the cost-effective production of hydrogen.

This page on the Hoeller Electrolysis web site gives details of Prometheus.

  • Hoeller are planning small, medium and large electrolyser modules, the largest of which is rated at 1.4 MW.
  • Load changes of between 0 and 100 % within seconds.
  • Cold start capability.
  • It will produce 635 Kg/day.
  • They are talking of a cost of 4€/Kg.

It all sounds good to me.

This paragraph is from the press release.

Founded in 2016, Hoeller Electrolyzer has positioned itself, with Prometheus, as one of the few highly specialized expert players in the field of high-efficiency PEM electrolysis stacks. Its founder, Stefan Höller, has more than a quarter of a century’s experience of developing electrolysis technology and has already registered 14 patents connected with Prometheus. Particularly high efficiency is promised by special surface technologies for the bipolar plates which significantly reduce the use of expensive precious metals platinum and iridium as catalysts, as well as increased output pressure.

I know a small amount about electrolysis and feel that Rolls-Royce may have got themselves a high-class deal.

Rolls-Royce’s large German presence in companies like mtu, will also help to smooth any doubts about the deal.

This paragraph indicates a shared belief.

Rolls-Royce and Hoeller Electrolyzer are united by a shared belief in the opportunity of zero-carbon energy – both for power supply and the propulsion of heavy vehicles. With decades of experience and systems expertise, Rolls-Royce is going to develop a complete electrolyzer system and has a global sales and service network, which opens up the potential for significant worldwide sales.

But perhaps, this is the most significant paragraph of the press release.

Armin Fürderer, who heads up the Net Zero Solutions business unit of Power Systems, said: “We’re going to launch electrolyzers with several megawatts of power right from the start. A total output of over 100 megawatts is conceivable by combining several electrolyzers.”

A quick search of the Internet, indicates that 100 MW is the size of the world’s largest electrolysers.

Applications

I can see applications for these large electrolysers.

Rolls-Royce Power Systems

This is a sentence from the press release.

Hoeller Electrolyzer, whose innovative technology will form the basis of a new range of mtu electrolyzer products from its Power Systems division.

The Rolls-Royce Power Systems web site, has this mission statement.

The Power Systems Business Unit of Rolls-Royce is focused on creating sustainable, climate neutral solutions for drive, propulsion and power generation.

In Rolls-Royce Makes Duisburg Container Terminal Climate Neutral With MTU Hydrogen Technology, I describe one of Rolls-Royce Power Systems projects.

The title of this post, is the same as this press release from Rolls-Royce.

This is the first sentence.

Rolls-Royce will ensure a climate-neutral energy supply at the container terminal currently under construction at the Port of Duisburg, Germany.

There is also this Rolls-Royce graphic, which shows the energy sources.

It would appear batteries,  combined heap and power (CHP), grid electricity, hydrogen electrolyser, hydrogen storage and renewable electricity are being brought together to create a climate-neutral energy system.

Note.

  1. The system uses a large hydrogen electrolyser.
  2. I suspect the hydrogen will be generated by off-peak electricity and local renewables.
  3. Hydrogen will probably power the container handling machines, ships, trucks, vehicles and other equipment in the port.

Hydrogen appears to be used as a means of storing energy and also for providing motive power.

I would suspect, the ultimate aim is that the port will not emit any carbon dioxide.

Other ports like Felixstowe and Holyhead seem to be going the hydrogen route.

Refuelling Hydrogen Buses and Charging Electric Buses

If you look at the Duisburg system, I can imagine a similar smaller system being used to refuel hydrogen buses and charge electric ones.

  • The hydrogen electrolyser would be sized to create enough hydrogen for a day or so’s work.
  • Hydrogen would be generated by off-peak electricity and local renewables.
  • If an operator bought more buses, I’m certain that the architecture of the electrolyser would allow expansion.
  • Hydrogen fuel cells would boost the electricity supply, when lots of buses needed to be charged.
  • Any spare hydrogen could be sold to those who have hydrogen-powered vehicles.
  • Any spare electricity could be sold back to the grid.

It should be noted that manufacturers like Wrightbus have developed a range of hydrogen and electric buses that use the same components. So will we see more mixed fleets of buses, where the best bus is assigned to each route?

I have used buses as an example, but the concept would apply to fleets of cars, trucks and vans.

Green Hydrogen

Large efficient electrolysers will surely be the key to producing large quantities of green hydrogen in the future.

It appears that about 55 MWh is needed to produce a tonne of green hydrogen using existing electrolysers.

The Hoeller electrolyser appears to be about 53 MWh, so it is more efficient.

Green Hydrogen From An Onshore Wind Farm

If you look at the average size of an onshore wind farm in the UK, a quick estimate gives a figure of 62 MW. I shouldn’t expect the figure for much of the world is very different, where you ignore the gigafarms, as these will distort the numbers.

An appropriately-sized electrolyser could be added to onshore wind farms to provide a local source of hydrogen for transport, an industrial process or a domestic gas supply for a new housing estate.

A single 5 MW wind turbine with a capacity factor of around 30 % would produce around 680 Kg of green hydrogen per day.

Green Hydrogen From An Offshore Wind Farm

There are basic methods to do this.

Put the electrolyser onshore or put the electrolyser offshore and pipe the hydrogen to the shore.

I think we will see some innovative configurations.

In ScotWind N3 Offshore Wind Farm, I described how Magnora ASA are developing the ScotWind N3 wind farm.

The floating turbines surround a concrete floater, which in the future could contain an electrolyser and tankage for hydrogen.

The ScotWind N3 wind farm is designed to be a wind farm rated at 500 MW.

I can see an electrolyser on the floater, of an optimal size to make sure all electricity is used.

Pink Hydrogen

Pink hydrogen, is zero-carbon hydrogen produced using nuclear-generated electricity.

There are industrial processes, like the making of zero-carbon chemicals, concrete and steel, that will require large quantities of zero-carbon green or pink hydrogen.

Rolls-Royce are developing the Rolls-Royce SMR, which will be a 470 MW small modular nuclear reactor.

One of these placed near to a steel works and coupled to one or more 100 MW electrolysers could provide enough zero-carbon electricity and hydrogen to produce large quantities of zero-carbon green steel.

Manufacturing

Rolls-Royce and their subsidiaries like mtu, seem to be extensive users of advanced manufacturing techniques and I would expect that they can improve Hoeller’s manufacturing.

Research And Development

The press release says this about the founder of Hoeller.

Its founder, Stefan Höller, has more than a quarter of a century’s experience of developing electrolysis technology and has already registered 14 patents connected with Prometheus.

If Rolls-Royce can develop and support Stefan Höller and his team, development could easily go to a higher level.

Conclusion

I think that Rolls-Royce have taken over a company, that will in the end, will design excellent efficient electrolysers.

 

 

 

June 29, 2022 Posted by | Hydrogen | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

West Midlands To Run ‘Largest Hydrogen Bus Fleet’ Due To New Funding

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

These are a few points from the article.

  • The region is set to get 124 new hydrogen vehicles.
  • The West Midlands is set to run the UK’s largest hydrogen bus fleet after securing new funding.
  • The region will get 124 new buses after it won £30m from the Department for Transport to fund a switchover.
  • Twenty four of the new vehicles will be articulated tram-style buses set to run on a new bus priority route between Walsall, Birmingham and Solihull.

Does the last statement mean, that they will buying a hundred double-decker hydrogen buses?

A few thoughts.

Riding Birmingham’s New Hydrogen-Powered Buses

These are a few pictures from Riding Birmingham’s New Hydrogen-Powered Buses.

They were excellent buses from Wrightbus.

The Tram Style Buses

The Belgian firm; Van Hool have a product called Exquicity. This video shows them working in Pau in France.

These tram buses run on rubber types and are powered by hydrogen.

Similar buses running in Belfast are diesel-electric.

Could these be what the article refers to as tram-style buses?

It should be noted, that the West Midlands and Pau have bought their hydrogen filling stations from ITM Power in Sheffield.

So has there has been a spot of the Entente Cordiale between Pau and the West Midlands?

Will The West Midlands Buy The Other Hundred Buses From Wrightbus?

There doesn’t seem to be any problems on the web about the initial fleet, so I suspect they will.

It should also be noted that Wrightbus make the following types of zero-emission buses.

These would surely enable the West Midlands to mic-and-match according to their needs.

 

March 29, 2022 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Aberdeen’s Hydrogen Buses Taken Off The Road Due To Technical Issue

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

Aberdeen’s fleet of hydrogen buses has been taken off the road due to a “technical issue”.

The technical issue appears not to be hydrogen-related, but with a mounting bracket.

Strange coming after CAF had bracket trouble with their trams and Hitachi had a similar problem with their trains.

Wrightbus, CAF and Hitachi haven’t been using the save dodgy Chinese supplier called El Cheapo Brackets have they?

February 5, 2022 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 6 Comments

Riding Birmingham’s New Hydrogen-Powered Buses

I went to Birmingham today and took one of their new hydrogen buses on route 51 to Perry Barr and another one back.

Note.

  1. As the pictures show Perry Barr is a bit of traffic bottleneck because of the reconstruction of Perry Barr station an other developments in the area, because of the Commonwealth Games, which are going to e held in Birmingham in 2022.
  2. The route goes past the High Speed Two site.
  3. Birmingham is a city of highways, flyovers, underpasses and roundabouts.
  4. The buses have wi-fi and charging points for phones.

I very much feel that the buses are the best hydrogen-powered vehicles, that I’ve travelled in, as they are smooth, comfortable, quiet and seem to have excellent performance.

Birmingham Buses Have Their Own Hydrogen Electrolyser

London bring their hydrogen in by truck from Runcorn, where it is created by electrolysis, for their hydrogen-powered buses.

On the other hand, Birmingham Buses have their own electrolyser at the Tyseley Energy Park.

This Google Map shows Tyseley Energy Park.

Note.

  1. The Birmingham Bus Refueler hadn’t opened, when this map was last updated.
  2. Tyseley Energy Park is only a few miles from the City Centre and route 51.
  3. I estimate that the Tyseley Energy Park occupies around four hectares.

This page on the Tyseley Energy Park web site described the refuelling options that are available.

  • Fuels available include hydrogen, biomethane, compressed natural gas, diesel, gas oil and AdBlue.
  • There are a range of charging options for electric vehicles.

The 3 MW electrolyser was built by ITM Power of Sheffield, which I estimate will produce nearly 1.5 tonnes of hydrogen per day.

According to this page on the Wrightbus website, a hydrogen-powered double-deck bus needs 27 Kg of hydrogen to give it a range of 250 miles. The refuelling of each bus takes eight minutes.

So the current fleet of twenty buses will need 540 Kg of hydrogen per day and this will give them a combined range of 5000 miles.

It would appear that the capacity of the electrolyser can more than handle Birmingham’s current fleet of twenty buses and leave plenty of hydrogen for other vehicles.

Could Other Towns And Cities Build Similar Energy Parks?

I don’t see why not and it looks like ITM Power are involved in a proposal to build an electrolyser at Barking.

Some would feel that London ought to follow Birmingham and create its own hydrogen.

 

 

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January 7, 2022 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

National Express Deploys Hydrogen Double-Deckers In The West Midlands

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Renewable Energy Magazine.

This is the first paragraph.

National Express has deployed 20 hydrogen double-decker buses purchased by Birmingham City Council, serving West Midlands route 51 to Walsall via Perry Barr from 6th December 2021– the only hydrogen buses operating in England outside London.

The buses are from Wrightbus.

The article also says this about the source of the hydrogen.

The council are also collaborating with ITM, who are producing and dispensing the hydrogen fuel from the new re-fuelling hub at Tyseley Energy Park.

This is surely the way to do it. Hydrogen buses with a local source of freshly-picked hydrogen.

 

 

January 6, 2022 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , | 4 Comments

When It Comes To Buses, Will Hydrogen Or Electric Win?

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

The WIRED article is a serious comparison between the merits of battery and hydrogen-powered buses.

The writer of the article talked to two people, who should know.

  • James Dixon, who is a Research Fellow in the Transport Studies Unit and Environmental Change Institute at Oxford University
  • Neil Collins, who is Managing Director of Wrightbus.

I think the philosophy of Wrightbus with four basic zero-carbon buses could be right.

This surely is a basis for satisfying customers, who like to buy what they feel is best for their networks and passengers.

This paragraph from the Wired article, illustrates how terrain and climate might favour one bus or the other.

Still, hydrogen may be a better option in a city with lots of hills, like Hong Kong, where it’s also very warm and humid, says Collins. “That’s going to be a problem for electric buses, because the cooling and the hills are just going to drain the batteries,” he says. “But if the city is relatively flat, and the journey times are relatively short, and it’s not either significantly warm or significantly cold, battery electric can do a very good job.”

In addition, you wouldn’t choose hydrogen buses, if supply of hydrogen was difficult.

Could this be why Jo Bamford, who is the owner of Wightbus, has established a company to help bus operators with the transition to hydrogen. I wrote about it in New Company Established To Help Transition Bus Fleets To Hydrogen.

I have also heard stories of garages in city centres, where it is not possible to get enough power to charge a garage full of battery buses. Some of these garages are in residential areas, which perhaps may not welcome tankers of hydrogen going through to supply the buses with hydrogen.

Perhaps, the solution for garages like this is to relocate the garage to a site, which fulfils one of these conditions.

  • Good connections to the motorway and trunk road network, so that hydrogen can be brought in by truck.
  • A high-capacity electricity supply to either charge battery electric buses or generate hydrogen using an electrolyser.

Buses would operate according to this daily cycle.

  • Buses would either be charged or refuelled with hydrogen overnight.
  • They would position to a convenient place to start their daily diagrams.
  • At the end of the day, they would return to the garage.

Note.

  1. Battery-electric buses may need to be topped-up during the day.
  2. Hydrogen buses with their longer range should be able to service routes further away.
  3. Routes would be arranged, so that hydrogen buses would not need to be topped up.

The big advantage of a remote bus garage is that the city centre site could be redeveloped to pay for the new buses and garage.

 

December 10, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , | 12 Comments

Order! Order! It’s A Bus-y Time For Wrightbus

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

This is the first paragraph.

The Wrightbus order book continues to be busy. The Go-Ahead Group has signed a contract to buy its first hydrogen powered buses, as part of a deal which could become the largest of its kind in Europe.

Let’s hope that this is the start of something big!

November 16, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , | 4 Comments

Will JCB Dig The Whole World Out Of A Hole?

JCB and the Bamford family in general have form, where hydrogen is concerned.

  • JCB have developed internal combustion engines, that will run on hydrogen.
  • Jo Bamford owns Wrightbus and they are building hydrogen-fuelled buses in Northern Ireland.
  • JCB were an early investor in hydrogen electrolyser company; ITM Power.
  • JCB have signed a large contract for the delivery of hydrogen with Fortescue Future Industries.

I have just watched this amazing video, where Lord Bamford explains his philosophy on hydrogen.

November 13, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen, World | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Northern Ireland Spends £100m On Clean Buses

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

If Wrightbus can’t rely on the Northern Irish government to buy their buses, who can they?

November 12, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Go-Ahead Group Signs Contract For Its First Hydrogen Fuel Cell Buses

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

This is the first paragraph.

Brighton & Hove and Metrobus have ordered 20 hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, which are set to be delivered in June 2022, signalling the Go-Ahead Group’s first order of hydrogen powered buses.

The vehicles are single-decker GB Kite Hydroliner FCEV buses.

These buses can be configured to carry up to ninety passengers and they have a range of up to 640 miles.

The article says these buses are for Faraway-branded express buses, so the long range will enable buses to be garaged centrally and refuelled once a day.

It looks like this could be the first of several orders from Go-Ahead for hydrogen buses.

November 5, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 2 Comments