Nikola aims to develop a hydrogen fuel network to bump up its H2 truck salesFebruary 20, 2023
The fuel cell vehicle company is working to eliminate one of the largest obstacles in its way.
Nikola is aiming to start building and broadening a hydrogen fuel network that will make it possible for H2-powered vehicles to refuel conveniently, particularly when those vehicles are the company’s own trucks.
Among the largest challenges in the way of H2 is that a refueling infrastructure is not yet in place.
For Nikola’s fuel cell trucks to ever become mainstream – and their goal is to have this be the case starting later this year – an effective supply chain will be critical. Those vehicles will need places to be able to conveniently refuel along their routes. Unlike recharging stations for battery electric vehicles, H2 pumps are next to non-existent. Nikola aims to change that with a hydrogen fuel network.
The company has already started the construction of a number of H2 plants in order to produce the H2 necessary to supply the hydrogen fuel network. Once those are in place and the refueling stations are built, it will become feasible for companies to begin including H2-powered trucks in their fleets.
The zero-emission vehicle company has also signed up other H2 producers to meet its predicted demand. It expects to have about 7,500 heavy duty trucks on the road by 2026. The company has also reportedly committed to supplying the H2 necessary for Nikola vehicles used throughout the United States and Canada, according to a recent report in the Wall Street Journal.
Nikola will start building its fuel cell trucks later this year and will need a hydrogen fuel network.
Nikola has been negotiating deals with companies throughout the United States as well as in countries around the world. It recently said that it is entering negotiations for an investment agreement with Fortescue Future Industries, which is a branch of the Fortescue Metals Group iron ore corporation from Australia. The company expects that it will have its initial volume of H2 production at 30 metric tons per day by the close of next year.
The company has also already announced that it will be working with Plug Power in a companion storage plant facility. That will make it possible to convert H2 from a gas to a liquid at very low temperatures, which will make the clean fuel easier to transport. From there, the H2 will be shipped by truck to the initial three filling stations comprising the hydrogen fuel network in California.
I see Nikola is still perpetuating its Hydrogen Power grift lol. We’ve heard it all before, have we not?
At the foundation of the grift is hydrogen itself, which is not a fuel for motor transport, and never will be.
Please explain why you characterize this as a “grift”.
Nikola’s plans are for use of H2 in Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles. I don’t know that they are planning for use of Hydrogen as a combustion “fuel” as you suggest.
Although H2 Combustion engines are being used / tested / developed in very limited numbers,
to my knowledge this article discusses Nikola’s Plans for FCEV’s.
He never implied hydrogen combustion, which is indeed a very foolish propulsion method. He merely called hydrogen a fuel, a term that is even in the name of the energy conversation hardware, the fuel cell. And let’s not rehash why Nikola might be considered a scammy company, we’ve watched the train wreck that Trevor Milton and Nikola have been for years! Nothing about the post-Milton company indicates a more serious and viable business plan. Building a hydrogen fueling network for non-existent green hydrogen which they have not demonstrated to be able to produce in meaningful quantities is as wishful as their ambition to build 7,500 trucks in less than three years, when to date they barely have working prototypes. But I’m willing to make popcorn, pour myself a drink, and watch the continuing fairy tale of Nikola.
Making, transporting, and storing green hydrogen requires no scientific breakthrough- it’s done in many places. In fact, a train and several car and truck models run on hydrogen fuel cells. Steel is being made using hydrogen. Nikola just needs to take advantage of existing techniques, not invent anything new.
Very much agree
You are years behind the Hydrogen present times. Some due diligence will reveal the RECENT, last couple years, advancements in Hydrogen across the board. Ships, aircraft, wheeled transport, trains, powering industry and the list goes on. Hail the Petroleum Era and uoward the Hydrogen Era. Fusion will follow in the not so distant future. Remember there is a fine line between ignorance and stupidity. POP
You had half a leg to stand on until the fusion power bit. We all know that’s still decades away even in the best case. Regarding an the hydrogen technologies you mentioned, except for the Siemens hydrogen train in Germany (which is having fueling issues in the current cold weather and have been sidelined), all otherd have at best partial technology demonstrators. I’m not familiar with any large scale fuel cell ship prototypes, and Zero Avia and Airbus are currently only testing fuel cells stacks with electric motors. They are very far from full system integration, not least because they have no solutions for the hydrogen energy density conundrum: hydrogen even in liquid form is not energy dense enough to fit into existing airplane fuselages. That’s why Airbus are investigating blended wing designs, which are at least two decades away from flying. Hydrogen isn’t going anywhere fast. And hydrogen trucking is a non-starter, but you’re welcome to watch the attempt fail in real time.
Well shall we see in two years, Then it can be determined who shall have the last laugh.
Rot. It already is a vehicle fuel and will strongly expand
You need to read the Inflation Reduction Act and review the last 50 years of DOE funding efforts at places like Sandia National Labs, NREL, Lawrence Berkeley Labs, Idaho National Labs, UC System, MIT, Stanford and so on and so forth. Within an hour you can enough insight to understand clearly that the United States is not chipping a few shots over a greenside bunker with a lob wedge hoping to get 1 out of 5 into the hole. They have been planning this for more than a half century. Nikola raised 2.5 billion dollars, Hyzon half a billion, add in Volvo, Quantron, Hino (Toyota’s class 8 FCEV), Daimler, Toyota, GM, Honda, Audi, BMW, Hyundai, and the other 80 or so FCEV OEM’s and you have a basic claim that all of these global leaders, carrying top educations and experiences, some for over a century, are fools simply because you idolize Elon Musk. He said Hydrogen is stupid and so it is. What side of the fence will you be on when he says “Those others are stupid, but Tesla’s latest Fuel Cell technology is the worlds most advanced. I fixed the world’s problems, it’s now smart to leverage H2 for transportation”. Will you come back to this post and apologize. Did you know it costs 10X to transmit electricity versus Hydrogen? If you tried to charge 50 BEV class 8 Tesla Trucks in one truckstop it would cause rolling black outs instantly. In fact PGE just informed small Nor-Cal city Fortuna, they won’t be able to upgrade their power for 15 years due to new transmission lines being required. Wait until you see what happens in states where there is tremendous amount of vehicles both LD and HD, such as MO, GA, SC, NC, FL, all that carry a major port, but only 1/10th of the economic foundation of a CA or NY for example, such that utilities are 100% dependent on DOE funding. Also, where do you think all that power will come from near term for charging? Turbines running Natural Gas without Carbon Capture which makes the problem worse and costs you more money. There are needs for both BEV and FCEV. We don’t all have to select one or the other. We need both, there is room for both, learn to love both as they are both going to contribute greatly to our children’s future. Red vs Blue, Left vs Right, Black vs White.. It’s all a bunch of ego-oil. There is good and evil in everything. In the end we are all here and in this together. Think Ying Yang when you think about choosing sides. Teamwork is better. Hope this is helpful.
If we can’t supply renewable electricity to recharge cars, when many owners will mostly recharge when electricity is cheap because plentiful, then green H2 is a non-starter.
You’re lying about “80 or so FCEV OEMs”. GM has publicly abandoned HFCVs (as has VW — why do you ignore all the other “global leaders” in the car industry besides Elon Musk who say they won’t make HFCVs), Audi has zero plans for volume production, Mercedes has publicly abandoned HFCV for cars after it leased a hundred or so GLC F-Cell cars in Germany; BMW will do the same after it puts a few Hydrogen X5s on the road. Honda hopes to make a few thousand hydrogen CR-Vs, its third try after canceling the Clarity FCX and then the Clarity Fuel Cell; and it and Toyota and Hyundai have all woken up and are spending 20x more on BEVs than on their sluggish, cramped, expensive hydrogen fuel cell cars that only a few thousand people have ever bought. Hydrogen is dead man walking in the passenger car market.
Yes, the separate Mercedes and Volvo truck companies are still working on long-range hydrogen trucks. But while waiting for governments to subsidize higher-pressure hydrogen refueling stations for trucks, they and TRATON invested €500M in a joint venture to develop a European battery charging network. Just as happened with cars, hydrogen trucks announcements, investments, and actual sales are 1/20th of battery trucks.
What puzzles me is why more effort isn’t put into using ammonia as the transport mechanism. Ammonia is liquid at room temp under very modest pressures (125PSI) and is liquid at -33 °C. Certainly for aircraft it would make more sense. All thats needed is a catalyst to convert the ammonia to H2 and N2.
Ammonia does definitely make more sense at the energy carrier if one must go the hydrogen and fuel cell route. It carries 50% more energy per liter of volume in liquid form, compared to liquid hydrogen, and is far easier to handle and less dangerous. Plus there is already a mature liquid ammonia handling infrastructure in place. However, there are no mature commercial direct ammonia fuel cells available yet, and building the ammonia to hydrogen extraction hardware into the vehicles adds complexity, weight and cost. Besides, the hydrogen fuel cell route is at least 4x lossier than battery-electric transportation, which has been leap-frogging fuel cells for over a decade now. Fuel cells had their chance for several decades, except that none of their proponents–or the automobile/trucking industry–were serious enough about replacing internal combustion to really push the technology hard. Now it’s too little too late.
Evolution and growth of this segment continues. it was not that long ago when diesel fuel gained popularity in auto and pickups, that the same naysayers endlessly made similar statements about diesel availability. It took a few years for locations other than truck stops and farm stations to start dispensing. Though in this case the additional negativism stems from an anti Nikola segment devoted to all thing disparaging at any and every level.. Could be wrong but don’t think so.
Hydrogen in cars was a dubious also-ran next to BEVs long before Nikola Motors tarnished the idea. The most efficient way to propel a vehicle will always be renewable electricity → battery → motor; now that batteries are relatively affordable, the cars are popular, and car makers are investing $hundreds of billions in BEVs, the opportunity has closed for an also-ran technology that has gained no traction, is even more expensive to roll out, has a fundamental chicken and egg problem (no stations so no cars so no stations in most of the world), and has enjoyed pathetically low sales in the few regions where government has blown $100M on 40 stations.
There’s no evolution and growth in fuel cell cars, there’s dead man walking. Until Honda’s hydrogen Honda CR-V announcement, not a single new HFCV car was announced for production since the second-generation Toyota Mirai in 2019. The contrast with the BEV market could not be more obvious, even if you “don’t think so.”
I agree The real opportunity to advance hydrogen economy is to develop efficient and safe storage and transportation equipment technologies like composite cylinders displacing steel cylinders. The business volume is in to $$ trillions over the next 2 or 3 decades., only aluminum, carbon fiber and thermosetting/thermoplastic resins are key materials. The future depends on innovation .