Fusion Fuel, a modular solar-to-hydrogen facility provider based in Portugal, and Electus Energy, a hydrogen fleet-fueling and power infrastructure developer, announced the two have entered an exclusive joint venture agreement to construct a 75 MW green hydrogen facility in Bakersfield, California.
The proposed project is a solar-to-hydrogen site that would make use of Fusion Fuel’s proprietary hydrogen electrolyzer technology, called HEVO. The company said the facility, its first in the United States, would produce up to 9,300 tons of hydrogen fuel per year to fuel heavy-duty trucks.
Fusion Fuel’s HEVO technology is a miniaturized electrolyzer, affixed to the back of concentrated solar power (CSP) panel, which utilizes both photovoltaic-generated electricity and thermal energy. By using both heat and electricity, the electrolyzer’s efficiency is boosted considerably, thereby reducing the levelized cost of green hydrogen, said the company. The technology also uses dual-axis trackers to follow the sun throughout the day.
“By integrating the HEVO directly to the CPV module, not only are we able to utilize the electrical energy to power the electrochemical reaction without transport or conversion losses, but we can also recover that wasted thermal energy and use it to pre-heat the feed water, reducing the electrical load required to split water by roughly 10%,” said Fusion Fuel.
An investment of about $180 million is expected to be made to launch the 75 MW California project, with final investment decision to be made in early 2024 and project commissioning in early 2025.
“In just under two years as a public company, Fusion Fuel has established itself as a key player in the Iberian green hydrogen ecosystem. However, we knew that entering a new market, particularly one as large and complex as North America, would require a cornerstone project and a credible partner,” said Jason Baran, chief commercial officer at Fusion Fuel.
Once operational, the project will provide enough hydrogen fuel to support over 1,000 Class 8 trucks or buses per day. Class 8 is the largest category of trucking, with trucks weighing over 33,000 lbs.
Hydrogen is considered an effective use-case for technologies that need to readily dispatch high amounts of power, like in heavy-duty trucking or in industrial processes. However, the process of creating hydrogen fuel, electrolysis, requires large amounts of electricity. The marriage of solar and hydrogen electrolysis at one site helps trucking fleets achieve their emissions reduction requirements.
The two companies have entered into a land lease agreement to secure 320 acres in Kern County for the project’s development, and Black & Veatch has been consulted to perform a concept study with input from Cornerstone Engineering and Headwaters Solutions.
“Due to the unique combination of solar irradiance, California tax incentives, and proximity to large-scale offtake, Bakersfield is the ideal project to anchor our North American strategy,” said Baran.
Fusion Fuel’s partner on the project, Electus Energy, has been actively developing hydrogen mobility solutions in the Southwest U.S., cultivating relationships with prospective offtakers in the logistics and distribution sector. The partnership may mark the beginning of a “hydrogen highway” vision for the region, linking California to Texas with a chain of green hydrogen fueling stations.
“Bakersfield will be the first anchor project of our U.S. strategy, which is heavily focused on the hydrogen mobility and logistics opportunity and envisions a hydrogen highway from California to Texas. While our HEVO-Solar technology is best suited for markets with high solar irradiance, the expected introduction in 2024 of our newest product – HEVO-Chain – will make the entirety of North America part of our addressable market,” said Baran.
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Sounds like the only truly non-carbon alternative to fossil fuels besides nuclear.
Be interesting to see how efficient their concentrating two-axis tracking arrays will be.
Use of triple junction III-V diodes on Germanium is likely what they’re doing.
I worked on 500 sun concentrator optics nearly 20 years ago for terrestrial and space.
Neat to see some of it being put to good use.
You mean besides batteries.
Definitely NOT batterie$$$…at least batteries of today: Pb-H2SO4 or LiION.
My nat gas 16kW Generac is my cost effective backup for short infrequent outtages.
Takes two to three Power Walls to start and run my Trane Heat Pump at 7X to 10X the cost…plus their replacement 10 years out.
I was referring to your comment “(Solar-Hydrogen) only truly non-carbon alternative to fossil fuels” in regards to this article being about mobile applications.
Solar to batteries are responsible for no more carbon in it’s production than solar-water-electrolysis to hydrogen-fuel cells.
Think one has to examine the levellized cost of solar hydrogen vs battery storage of solar energy. And LCOEs for fossil fuels, nuclear and other renewables.
Battery stored solar obviously has a higher LCOE (aka: LCOSS) due to charge & discharge losses, decay and real depreciation vs solar consumed directly by satisfying loads without storage.
Results show LCOSS is $55 to $91 per MWh vs standalone PV LCOE at $18 to $31 per MWh for Phoenix vs New York, respectively…both AFTER 30% ITCs.
Be interesting to see where Solar-Hydrogen will compare to natural gas combined cycle at $35/MWh…both without 30% ITCs.
A 75 MW dual tracker facility might produce 147,000 MWh/yr, with an electrolyzer efficiency of 70%, the system would produce 1,911 tons/year of hydrogen, which is only 20.54% of the claimed hydrogen production of 9,300 tons per year. Although the CSP/thermal system might have enhanced performance, the claims appear to be a bit on the imaginative side.
A 75 MW dual tracker facility might produce 147,000 MWh/yr, with an electrolyzer efficiency of 70%, the system would produce 3,053 tons/year of hydrogen, which is only 32.83% of the claimed hydrogen production of 9,300 tons per year. Although the CSP/thermal system might have enhanced performance, the claims appear to be a bit on the imaginative side.
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