Technology Merit: Transportation


Daimler for ramping up its commitment to commercially launching fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) with a commitment in January 2013 to collaborate with Ford, Nissan and Renault to develop affordable FCEVs. And in September, Daimler and its five partners in the German H2 Mobility Initiative (Air Liquide, Linde, OMV, Shell and Total) agreed to increase their ambitions for hydrogen fueling infrastructure from the current 15 hydrogen filling stations to 100 by 2017 and 400 by 2023. The project will cost an estimated $474 million and aims to provide 10 or more fueling stations for each German metropolitan by 2023.

Of course, Daimler isn't the only major automaker developing FCEVs. "BMW, Daimler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Nissan, and Toyota have all begun developing fuel cell technologies. Some automakers, like Hyundai and Honda, have pledged to bring fuel cell vehicles to the U.S. market in the next two years," according to a December 2013 posting by the National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium. NAFTC also reported that at the most recent LA Auto Show featured global debuts for two new FCEVs: Hyundai's Tucson FCV crossover and Honda's FCEV concept car, based on the EV Fit.

But Daimler's commitment is worthy of special recognition, given its leadership position in manufacturing and leasing 200 Mercedes-Benz B-Class F-CELL FCEVs, its articulation of the core value proposition of FCEVs and its support for hydrogen fueling infrastructure.

In 2011, Daimler executives told CCBJ that they believe FCEVs-electric vehicles with onboard clean generators-will be a major segment of a diverse electrified transport industry. "The age of electric mobility will not be ushered in at the press of a button. Thus our solution is an intelligent blend of drive concepts [for] various vehicle categories, application profiles, and individual customers' wishes."

"Long-distance transport will continue to be dominated by state-of-the-art internal combustion engines, with or without hybrid modules. In rural driving, with passenger cars there will be additionally plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles with fuel cell[s]. In urban traffic-especially in the increasing number of mega-cities throughout the world-the streetscape will be more and more characterized by locally emission-free vehicle concepts with battery and fuel cell drive."

Linde for investing in projects to supply liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the transportation sectors-from cars to trucks to ships-including a growing proportion of gas derived from biomass sources. A global supplier of industrial gases and a designer, builder and operator of gas processing plants, Linde is "bullish about using biomethane for transport fuel, which is a high-end, high value use of biogas," according to Olof K?llgren, head of clean energy, merchant LNG. "We're fairly in our view."

The Linde Group also focuses on hydrogen-a gas it has more than a century of experience with-for transport in Europe. And in September 2013, Linde and its partners in the H2 Mobility Initiative announced expanded ambitions (see Daimler above). "The ultimate aim there is to produce and distribute green hydrogen that is based on renewable sources," said K?llgren.

Biomethane is a more near-term opportunity, and Linde already supplies biomethane, together with the compression and storage solutions, to fuel retailers in Northern Europe. "We are sourcing biomethane from municipal waste plants and other sources with which we have sourcing offtake agreements and we are also using LNG from our small scale LNG import terminal outside Stockholm to be able to guarantee a secure and efficient supply," said Kallgren.

Linde's merchant LNG value proposition is focused on building small- to medium-scale LNG facilities to provide complete supply chain solutions for industrial as well as transportation markets-competing against higher-GHG diesel for transport fuels. Examples of recent projects include an LNG terminal outside Stockholm that fuels local industries, the Stockholm city gas grid and private, public transport and taxi fleets. In the UK, Linde has started to supply LNG to heavy goods vehicles, and in some Asian markets, Linde is developing smaller and mid-size LNG plant projects that are based on stranded natural gas reserves.

Siemens for partnering with Swedish heavy goods vehicle (HGV) manufacturer Scania to partner in EV development to develop a pilot project using Scania's emerging electric and hybrid HGVs and Siemens e-highway concept: highways where HGVs can run on electricity drawn by pantographs that connect with overhead electrical conductors.

Last year in a test on Gotland, the companies demonstrated how an electric HGV might work and function. A video on Siemens website shows a hybrid-electric HGV driver raising and lowering the pantographs to draw current from overhead lines. Siemens calls e-Highway "an innovative solution that combines tried and tested rail technology with the flexibility of road transport."

For its part, Scania is pursuing large-scale development of electric hybrid technology, with the internal combustion engine being supplemented by an electric motor that is powered by regenerative braking.

According to a report on the Port of Rotterdam website, Siemens' e-Highway solution may be particularly useful for ports, which are already challenged to meet air quality regulations due to the heavy use of diesel HGVs and the high cost of "building the dedicated lanes ¡­ $5 to $7 million per mile."