FFI & Deutsche Bahn to modify diesel engines for hydrogen locomotives, biotech startup targets hydrogen production from $1.5/kg


From pv magazine Global | via the Hydrogen Stream

Cemvita has moved its microbes from the lab to the field to produce hydrogen from existing infrastructure for depleted oil and gas wells. The company is betting on the biological production of hydrogen in the subsurface through the consumption of trapped or abandoned resources. “Cemvita scientists increased microbe performance by six and a half times the rate needed to produce hydrogen at US$1/kg (AUD 1.5/kg), a key milestone necessary to advance the program toward commercialisation,” said the Texas-based company. “The subsequent field trial was completed in the Permian basin with a partnering company, where the team successfully measured hydrogen concentrations three orders of magnitude above baseline.”

Deutsche Bahn and Australia’s Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) have agreed on a cooperation plan. For their first project, the partners are working on modifying diesel engines for locomotives and traction vehicles to operate with ammonia and hydrogen. “The advantage over a pure hydrogen engine is that ammonia has a higher energy density than liquid hydrogen and is easier to transport and store,” wrote Deutsche Bahn. The ammonia-hydrogen engine features a cracker from Germany’s Ammonigy. The cracker splits a small part of the ammonia outside the engine into hydrogen and nitrogen. The hydrogen produced is mixed with the remaining ammonia as an ignition gas. The first prototype of the engine is currently being tested on an engine test bench. 

Alberta‘s government has started talking to a number of Japanese companies about collaborating on LNG, hydrogen, ammonia, and methanol, said Dale Nally, the associate minister of natural gas and electricity in the Canadian province. “Alberta is committed to being a global leader in hydrogen and liquefied natural gas,” Nally said, noting that the province now accounts for about 90% of Canada’s total oil sands production. Nally recently traveled to Japan to participate in Japan’s Hydrogen Energy Ministerial Meeting and visit the Fukushima Hydrogen Energy Research Field. Canadian companies are currently in talks with Japanese companies such as Itochu and Mitsubishi. 

Argus has launched a suite of new hydrogen cost indicators on the economics of hydrogen production in the context of carbon capture. The price reporting agency said that it now publishes hydrogen costs and prices for more than 400 locations throughout the world. The decision comes at a moment when several companies, like ICIS, are increasing hydrogen reporting. 

The European Commission has approved a €134 million (AUD 205 million) German measure to support BASF’s production of renewable hydrogen under EU state aid rules. The objective is to decarbonise its chemical production processes and promote hydrogen use in the transport sector. The direct grant will support the construction of a 54 MW electrolyser at BASF’s site in Ludwigshafen, Germany. Operations are scheduled to start in 2025.

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