Cummins hydrogen electric power systems and electrolyzers aiming at trains first

Cummins hydrogen electric power systems and electrolyzers aiming at trains first

November 23, 2020 1 By Erin Kilgore

The heavy-duty diesel engine manufacturer is pivoting to lead in a green future.

Cummins recently announced its move to start supplying hydrogen electric power systems and electrolyzers for producing clean H2 fuel. Though its diesel business focuses on trucks, trains and buses – and it intends to provide green options for those vehicles – its transition is placing trucks last on the list.

Trains and buses appear to be a bigger opportunity than trucks for the company in the near term.

The manufacturer, based in Columbus, Indiana, supplies engines for heavy-duty pickups, delivery vehicles, boats, buses, and semis. That said, it recently released a plan for supplying hydrogen electric power systems and electrolyzers to keep up a strong position in a greener energy future. This strategy was outlined in the company’s “Hydrogen Day” presentation.

That focused on the production of fuel cells, fuel tanks, stationary power systems, and electrolyzers that would assist businesses is producing their own H2. Cummins is already testing hydrogen powered big rig transport trucks. However, the company has stated that it expects other areas such as steelmakers and transit operators to make a higher priority of slashing carbon emissions in the nearest future, according to Tom Linebarger, Cummins CEO and Chairperson, cited in a Forbes report.

The hydrogen electric power systems will be needed for H2 in some industries faster than others.

“Everyone knows that we need to get out of carbon fuels. The question is when do the economics get right either because of regulations or other things? The economics are right for subsidized areas,” said Linebarger. “Trains, buses that’s where the action is because it’s point-to-point, which means you have a hydrogen fueling station at this end, hydrogen fueling stations at that end and you’re done. You don’t want a bunch of stations. You want high usage so that when you put this investment in, you’re using a lot of the fuel.”

Cummins cranked up its focus on H2 as the entire transportation industry has boosted its investment into his renewable energy. Automakers have placed a focus on battery electric technologies, but those are proving to be impractical when it comes to heavier duty applications.

This has made hydrogen electric power systems far more appealing for their lighter weight, longer range and rapid refuelling. Toyota, Daimler, Hyundai, and Nikola, among other Hydrogen electric power systems - Train on trackcompanies, are participating in multibillion-dollar strategies using H2, and Cummins views this as a meaningful opportunity to become a key supplier.

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