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Chevron, BNSF, United Expand Hydrogen for Trains and Planes

By December 17, 2021December 23rd, 2021No Comments

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Chevron, BNSF, United Expand Hydrogen for Trains and Planes

Dec 17, 2021 • Forbes

The deal comes as the construction and transportation industry is looking to shift to cleaner forms of energy

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the transportation sector represents the largest share of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions at 29%; the next highest polluter is electricity at 25%. Social and political pressure is mounting for major automotive manufacturers to consider carbon-free alternatives – like H2 seriously.

According to the International Energy Forum, decarbonization of long-haul shipping, aviation, and heavy-duty vehicles, including 18- wheeler trucks, could cut as much as 23% of carbon emissions from the total production. Vehicles in this sector only account for 10% of all vehicles used for transportation, yet they are responsible for 29% of total carbon emissions, making them a clear target for the transition.

On Tuesday, BNSF railway, Caterpillar, and Chevron Motors announced plans to construct a locomotive powered by hydrogen (H2) fuel.

The deal comes as the construction and transportation industry is looking to shift to cleaner forms of energy.  The announcement outlined three primary goals comes as the construction and transportation industry is looking to shift to cleaner forms of energy.  The announcement outlined three primary goals— (1) Progress Rail plans to design and build a prototype hydrogen fuel cell locomotive for line-haul and/or other types of rail service. (2) Chevron expects to develop the fueling concept and infrastructure to support this use of the locomotive. (3) Lastly, the prototype hydrogen fuel cell locomotive is expected to be demonstrated on BNSF’s lines for some time, with room for expansion upon success.

Though hydrogen has a promising future in reducing total carbon emissions, it is not without challenges. Hydrogen fuel must be stored at -235C and shipped on specialized cargo ships, leading to a very costly endeavor.

U.S. transportation companies have also committed to hydrogen experimentation. United Airlines recently acquired an equity stake in ZeroAvia, a company that uses hydrogen fuel cells to power electric motors, with the intent to purchase up to 100 zero-emission ZA-2000-RJ engines.

Additionally, a California-based startup called H2 Clipper announced on December 15 that they can produce hydrogen airships at one-quarter of the price of a traditional cargo plane. Specifically, it claims that transport costs for H2 planes would range between $0.177 to $0.247 a ton per mile for distances between 1,000-6,000 miles (~1,610-9,650 km). According to the company, that’s a quarter of the price of aircraft  cargo transportation. But that required H2 upstream, midstream, and downstream infrastructure to be in place.

Read full article on Forbes