The Hydrogen Stream: Volvo starts testing fuel cell electric trucks

Volvo said it will offer fuel cell electric trucks by the second half of the decade, while an airport in northern Japan has started working on a feasibility study for local hydrogen production. Uruguay, meanwhile, has presented a new hydrogen strategy.

June 21, 2022

Volvo Trucks plans to launch hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric trucks in the second half of this decade. The Gothenburg-based company has already started vehicle testing.

The fuel cell electric trucks will have an operational range of up to 1,000 km and a refueling time of less than 15 minutes. The fuel cells will be supplied by cellcentric, a joint venture between the Volvo Group and Daimler Truck.  Pohang University of Science and Technology in South Korea has developed a technology to enhance the efficiency of hydrogen generation by flattening platinum (Pt) over the surface of double hydroxide (LDH) layered with nickel and iron (NiFe). "Platinum combines well with hydrogen and is often regarded as the best catalyst for hydrogen generation.

However, because the water decomposition ability of platinum is poor, research has been conducted to improve this ability by combining platinum with iron and nickel hydroxide," the team said in "Crystal Facet-Manipulated 2D Pt Nanodendrites to Achieve an Intimate Heterointerface for Hydrogen Evolution Reactions," which was recently published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), a national research and development agency in Japan, has selected a group of companies, including Mitsubishi and Toshiba, to conduct feasibility studies on the production and use of hydrogen at New Chitose Airport in the city of Sapporo. The companies will study demand for hydrogen in mobility and heating at the airport, as well as the possibility of local hydrogen production.

The study period will end in March 2023. The International Energy Agency (IEA) said the African continent has the potential to produce 5,000 megatons of hydrogen per year at less than USD 2 per kilogram by 2030. "Global declines in the cost of hydrogen production could allow Africa to deliver renewables-produced hydrogen to Northern Europe at internationally competitive price points by 2030," the Paris-based organization wrote in its "Africa Energy Outlook 2022" report.  A number of low-carbon hydrogen projects are underway or under discussion in Egypt, Mauritania, Morocco, Namibia and South Africa.  Uruguay has presented its new hydrogen strategy, under which it targets 20 GW of renewables, 10 GW of electrolyzers, and a turnover of approximately £2,000 million per year by 2040.

According to a study conducted by the government, in collaboration with McKinsey & Co, hydrogen production costs at scale could reach £1.20 to £1.40/kg by 2030. Experts from the South American country are currently holding talks with their German counterparts.

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LG Chem has announced plans to set up a plant in Daesan, South Korea, with the capacity to produce 50,000 tons of hydrogen per year by the second quarter of 2024. Hydrogen will be made from methane off-gases generated by the naphtha cracking center (NCC). 

The European Union and Egypt have agreed to ramp up cooperation on energy. "The cooperation will have a particular focus on renewable energy sources, hydrogen, and energy efficiency," said the commission.  Juniper Research has published a new study showing that the number of hydrogen vehicles in service throughout the world will exceed 1 million units in 2027, from just over 60,000 cars in 2022 (+1,500%). This content is protected by copyright and may not be reused.

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