Hydrogenious Technologies GmbH and European research centre, Forschungszentrum Jülich, have joined forces to further develop and commercialise the Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carriers (LOHC) technology for mobile applications.
LOHC systems are composed of pairs of hydrogen (H2)-lean and H2-rich organic compounds that store H2 by repeated catalytic hydrogenation and dehydrogenation cycles. While H2 handling in the form of LOHCs allows for using the existing infrastructure for fuels, it also builds on the existing public confidence in dealing with liquid energy carriers. In contrast to H2 storage by hydrogenation of gases, such as carbon dioxide (CO2) or nitrogen (N2), H2 release from LOHC systems produces pure H2 after condensation of the high-boiling carrier compounds.
The parties signed a respective cooperation agreement at the beginning of 2019. The cooperation focuses on on-board systems for trains, ships and heavy-duty vehicles and on the further development of the Direct-LOHC-fuel cell. In mobile applications, LOHC enables infrastructure-compatible refuelling and the operation of vehicles similar to today’s liquid fuels. Due to the high storage density, considerable amounts of energy required for trains, ships and other commercial vehicles can be provided easily and safely.
Dr. Daniel Teichmann, Managing Director of Hydrogenious Technologies, sees the cooperation as an important milestone towards the future emission-free, safe and efficient operation of public and freight transport with H2. He said, “Forschungszentrum Jülich is a leading institution for the research and development of LOHC technology in H2 mobility. By joining forces, we want to help this promising concept to be implemented even faster.”
Within Forschungszentrum Jülich, the Helmholtz Institute for Renewable Energies Erlangen-Nuremberg (HI ERN), founded in 2014, is working on the LOHC technology. For its further development in H2 mobility, the institute is very well positioned with top scientists, but also considerable funding: The State of Bavaria has funded a project in the field of LOHC mobility with €28m ($32m). The aim is to develop a LOHC-operated commuter train and run it as a prototype within the next five years.
Professor Dr. Harald Bolt, a member of the executive board of Forschungszentrum Jülich, underlines the strategic relevance of the cooperation, “From our point of view, the LOHC technology is a scientifically and socially highly relevant and innovative technology with enormous potential. We are convinced that the relevant work at the HI ERN can be successfully transferred to commercial applications in the long-term cooperation with Hydrogenious Technologies”.