Anglo, Umicore partner on hydrogen tech aimed at simplifying EV refuelling headache

ANGLO American and materials handling and recycling company, Umicore, are partnering in research into a hydrogen-based product that does not require extensive infrastructure in order it be used electric vehicles.

The chemistry is to bond hydrogen to a liquid so that the delivery to the market is provided as per gasoline currently instead of creating infrastructure for compressed gas. Hydrogen infrastructure and refuelling networks currently represent one of the main barriers for more widespread adoption of hydrogen in clean, electric transport, said the partners.

The chemical process of bonding the liquid to the hydrogen is called liquid organic hydrogen carrier (LOHC). Electric vehicles would be fitted with engines containing platinum group metals (PGMs) that speak to the liquid to which the hydrogen is initially bonded.

Called the dehydrogenation step, this would take place directly in the vehicle at lower temperatures and pressures, providing a simpler and cheaper alternative to onboard storage of compressed hydrogen, said the partners.

Umicore will conduct the research with support from Anglo American’s PGMs Market Development team and in cooperation with Professor Peter Wasserscheid at the University of Erlangen, co-founder of Hydrogenious LOHC Technologies.

“Anglo American believes that the particular catalytic properties of PGMs can further enhance the process by streamlining the logistics, and offer a far simpler experience for consumers – combined with a similarly quick refuelling time and range as conventional petrol or diesel vehicles – while also reducing costs across the entire value chain,” said Benny Oeyen, Anglo American’s executive head of PGMs market development

2 COMMENTS

  1. This article is vivid proof that the supposedly imminent Hydrogen boom is nothing but smoke and mirrors.

    Yes, the technology will EVENTUALLY be perfected, but that lies potentially 15 – 20 years into the future.
    Given the wasteful physics of hydrogen, it will never succeed as a fuel for cars. It will only find application as a green source of chemical feedstock (ammonia) and as a de facto battery, to sequestrate temporary surplusses of electricity.

    But Platinum Bulls, don’t trust my view, read Amplats’ recent results presentation. There you’ll see a slide showing the potential uptake of PGM ounces in the coming Hydrogen boom. IF the Hydrogen dream is fully realised. The numbers are modest at best and must be viewed against all the autocats that are going to be scrapped in the next 15 years.

    • Hi – I’m busy writing something on the likelihood of fuel cell electric vehicles right now, actually. It’ll appear in Miningmx in a couple of weeks. There’s a feeling that the subsidization of lithium-ion batteries proves the subsidy model, especially in China where the tech is break-even. But sure FCEVs have a way to go. First, you have to decarbonisation hydrogen from grey to blue to green hydrogen. And public policy will be key to efficiently regulating the industry. But reports I’ve read – BMO, JP Morgan, appear to suggest there’s real momentum behind FCEVs.
      David

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