Amaze your friends with your knowledge of hydrogen, fuel cells

Cummins Hydrogen and Fuel Cells - #GenerationH

Brush up on your hydrogen and fuel cell knowledge with these eight facts about our favorite chemical element. 

We’d argue that every day should be National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Day, but for reasons that make way too much sense, the observance is celebrated annually on October 8 in recognition of the atomic weight of hydrogen (1.008).

To help you impress your friends and celebrate hydrogen’s potential year-round, here are eight facts about our favorite chemical element sure to make you look good and sound smart.  

  1. Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe and the third most abundant on earth. In fact, 75% of everything in the visible universe is hydrogen. However, hydrogen does not usually exist on its own in nature. Instead it is produced from compounds containing it, primarily in the form of water.
  2. Hydrogen is the hot, new, low-carbon fuel, but it’s been around for millions of years. Henry Cavendish discovered hydrogen in 1766 and the first electrolyzer separating hydrogen from water subsequently appeared in 1800 when a static charge was introduced into water. More than 200 years later, Cummins is continuing to enhance its products based on these fundamental discoveries.
  3. Fuel cells need hydrogen as a fuel to produce energy. Whilst, pure hydrogen is very common, other fuels compounded with hydrogen, or hydrocarbons, are also used for producing energy. Some examples of other fuels used are natural gas, methanol, ammonia or diesel.
  4. Hydrogen is a key energy vector that powers our technology using fuel cells. Fuel cells generate electricity through a chemical reaction of hydrogen and oxygen.  As hydrogen gas passes through a fuel cell stack, it combines with atmospheric oxygen to generate electricity and the only by-product is water vapor. 
  5. While hydrogen, when consumed, does not produce any emissions or critical air components, it is only as clean as the energy source used to produce it. When using surplus renewable energy sources, like solar, wind or hydro-electric, through the process of electrolysis, carbon-free hydrogen is generated, commonly referred to as green hydrogen.
  6. Fuel cells and hydrogen have been used to store power going back to the Apollo space missions. The NASA Glenn Research Center, NASA’s fuel cell research and development center, has been using fuel cells for the past four decades, including for the space shuttle missions.
  7. Hydrogen refueling stations are growing worldwide to support fuel cell vehicles. In 2010, there were just 22 hydrogen refueling stations around the world. In 2019, that number has grown to 470 hydrogen refueling stations in operation. Japan leads the way with 113 stations, followed by Germany with 81 and the U.S. with 64 stations.
  8. Hydrogen fuel cells are used in many applications. Cummins has been demonstrating hydrogen and fuel cell capabilities in many applications including powering passenger trains in Europe and providing fuel cells for refuse trucks, as well as, forklifts, pick-up and delivery trucks, heavy duty trucks, airplanes, and buses.

And if after reading this article, you’re still unimpressed with the element, remember that 62% of the atoms in your human body are hydrogen. Now you are ready to celebrate the day responsibly. Take care and have fun.

Cummins Hydrogen Fuel Cells - #GenerationH

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins is a global power leader that designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel and alternative fuel engines from 2.8 to 95 liters, diesel and alternative-fueled electrical generator sets from 2.5 to 3,500 kW, as well as related components and technology. Cummins serves its customers through its network of 600 company-owned and independent distributor facilities and more than 7,200 dealer locations in over 190 countries and territories.

Cummins-powered hydrogen fuel cell trains heading further down the track in Austria

Cummins-powered hydrogen fuel cell trains heading further down the track in Austria

Hydrogen fuel cells are recognized as a technology necessary for a carbon-neutral future. Cummins fuel cells and hydrogen technologies have already powered applications ranging from grocery trucks to the first PEM electrolyzer in the United States, and now innovation continues in passenger rail in Austria.  

French railway manufacturer Alstom is among the first railway manufacturers in the world to develop hydrogen fuel cell-powered passenger trains. Alstom has already introduced the world’s first hydrogen fuel cell passenger train, called the Coradia iLint, in Germany, and Cummins supplied the fuel cells. In service since September 2018, the two hydrogen fuel cell trains have been successfully used in commercial service in Germany and following this successful test operation, now Alstom’s Coradia iLint train, powered by Cummins’ fuel cells, will run in Austria for the first time in regular passenger rail service for ÖBB, the Austrian Federal Railways.  

passenger rail in Austria

The train uses on-board fuel cells, to convert hydrogen and oxygen into electricity, emitting only steam and water and reducing operating emissions to zero. Reaching up to 140 kilometers per hour (86 miles per hour), the train was specifically designed for use in non-electrified lines. Transporting passengers across geographically challenging routes, the fuel cell train will run in Austria over a three-month demonstration period. Maintaining high levels of performance, many new innovations have been incorporated into the train, including clean energy conversion, flexible energy storage in batteries and intelligent management of motive power and available energy.  

Austria TrainIn 2015, Hydrogenics—now part of Cummins—was selected as a key partner by Alstom to develop and implement hydrogen fuel cell systems for Alstom’s iLint. With a range of up to 1000 kilometers per each hydrogen tank fueling, the fuel cell train matches the miles per fueling performance of conventional regional trains. The first serial production of 14 iLints will start operating in 2021 in Lower Saxony, and Alstom will supply 27 hydrogen trains until the end 2022 for operations in the Rhine-Main region. In addition, Alstom announced a trial in the Netherlands which will test further hydrogen powered trains in spring 2020.  

With Cummins as a leading power provider and Alstom as a worldwide pioneer for fuel cell mobility in passenger trains, this partnership provides our customers the right solution at the right time. Cummins continues to innovate emission-free transportation and providing the hydrogen fuel cells to power the world’s first fuel cell passenger train is just one of the latest examples of how we are continuing to build our reputation as a leading provider of electrified and hydrogen fuel cell power.  

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins is a global power leader that designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel and alternative fuel engines from 2.8 to 95 liters, diesel and alternative-fueled electrical generator sets from 2.5 to 3,500 kW, as well as related components and technology. Cummins serves its customers through its network of 600 company-owned and independent distributor facilities and more than 7,200 dealer locations in over 190 countries and territories.

Cummins fuel cells "in training" for their 2022 Winter Olympics debut

infographicAs one of the hosts of the 2022 Winter Olympic games, Zhangjiakou, China will welcome thousands of competitors who have been training their whole lives to have the chance to win Olympic gold. For close to two years, Cummins fuel cells have been doing their own Olympic style training by powering 74 transit buses on the roads in Zhangjiakou. A challenging location with elevation at over 2,300 feet and temperatures reaching as low as 17 degrees Fahrenheit in winter, our Cummins fuel cell powered buses are ready for the test.

3 Million Passengers & Counting

Cummins fuel cells are integrated into 49 12-meter buses and 25 10.5-meter buses – perfect for intercity operation. So far, the fleet has provided transportation services for over three million passengers, with each vehicle consuming only 6.7 kilograms of hydrogen every 100 kilometers.

The buses run on multiple routes across the city, including two of the routes with the highest passenger flow in the city. Every day these buses work more than 14 hours and drive 250 kilometers. With a range of 500 kilometers, hydrogen refueling time of only 10 – 15 minutes and start-up at temperatures as low as -22 degrees Fahrenheit, fuel cells are the perfect solution for Zhangjiakou. 

Prepping for the Winter Olympicsinfographic

To prepare for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, Zhangjiakou has been promoting greener development and utilization of renewable resources. Currently, it is building its own Hydrogen Production Base and working with the Air Liquide Group to build Hydrogen Stations to ensure the smooth operation of more fuel cell vehicles in the city. Construction of the first 10 hydrogen stations will be complete before the end of 2020 with another six built in 2021. 

With fuel cells operating in a large fleet and harsh environment for two years, Cummins continues to show global leadership in commercial vehicles across all technologies, now including fuel cell and hydrogen systems.

 

Our Future of Fuel Cells in China

As Cummins strengthens its presence in China with plans for a new facility in the region providing further engineering support, we are excited to see more of our fuel cells pop up across the country and will of course be keeping an eye out for our buses at the Olympic games in 2022!

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins is a global power leader that designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel and alternative fuel engines from 2.8 to 95 liters, diesel and alternative-fueled electrical generator sets from 2.5 to 3,500 kW, as well as related components and technology. Cummins serves its customers through its network of 600 company-owned and independent distributor facilities and more than 7,200 dealer locations in over 190 countries and territories.

Building the future of energy: Cummins Chairman and CEO discusses hydrogen at virtual global event

Hydrogen

In the race to develop more sustainable and renewable energy sources, hydrogen has re-emerged as a potential key solution in the transition to zero-emission mobility, and the world is talking about it. Tom Linebarger, the Chairman and CEO of Cummins recently joined top hydrogen technology innovators to discuss the future of hydrogen, both in commercial and industrial engine applications, during a virtual hydrogen forum hosted by the International Partnership for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells in the Economy (IPHE).

The IPHE forum brought together a number of industry and government leaders to identify the challenges, opportunities, policies, and mechanisms to accelerate global-scale deployments of hydrogen technologies. Among the panel were top industry executives from Engie North America, Nel, Hyundai Motor Group, and Air Liquide.

Watch: Global Hydrogen Forum 2020

During the forum, Linebarger emphasized there is a need for additional investment in hydrogen by the U.S. government and industry, while commending the work that has been led  by the U.S. Department of Energy.

“With a world that is feeling the economic ramifications of a global pandemic, I believe that governments and industries around the world need to make significant investments in order to reinvigorate the global economy,” said Linebarger. “When it comes to making hydrogen viable and to speed adoption, we need investment in hydrogen production as well as fueling infrastructure and funding to deploy fuel cell vehicles and equipment.”

Linebarger mentioned that more and more public companies are making commitments like Cummins to be carbon neutral by 2050 and that hydrogen is part of the path forward to meeting that goal. Investors increasingly understand the role that hydrogen can play in reaching this objective and their support of businesses pursuing the technology is growing.

"Scaling up existing hydrogen technologies will deliver competitive low-carbon solutions across a wide range of applications by 2030 and may even offer competitive low-carbon alternatives to conventional fuels in some segments," said Linebarger. "To reach this scale, there is a need for investment, policy alignment, and demand creation." 

The panel all agreed that hydrogen is an important power solution for applications in both on- and off-highway applications, and that hydrogen is a solution that can move us closer to a decarbonized world. It will require public and private investment across the globe and coordination among public and private entities to speed economic viability and adoption.  

Already a leader in advanced diesel, natural gas and electric technologies, Cummins is rapidly growing its hydrogen capabilities and the company continues to deepen its expertise in fuel cell technologies. Cummins uses fuel cell and hydrogen technologies to power a variety of applications, including transit buses, semi-trucks, delivery trucks and passenger trains, and has made several announcements in the past year related to fuel cell technologies. These include the acquisition of Hydrogenics Corporation in September 2019, providing Cummins with both proton exchange membrane (PEM), alkaline fuel cells, and electrolyzers used to generate hydrogen. Cummins has also invested in LOOP Energy, signed a memo of understanding with Hyundai Motor Company and invested in the development of solid oxide fuel cells. 

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins is a global power leader that designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel and alternative fuel engines from 2.8 to 95 liters, diesel and alternative-fueled electrical generator sets from 2.5 to 3,500 kW, as well as related components and technology. Cummins serves its customers through its network of 600 company-owned and independent distributor facilities and more than 7,200 dealer locations in over 190 countries and territories.

Cummins Delivers Fuel Cells for Refuse Trucks in Europe

fuel cell refuse truck
Image courtesy of FAUN

Garbage is not a topic that many of us think about on a regular basis. Waste as an industry, when done correctly, gets little fanfare. However, the power and durability of a refuse truck is the backbone of the collection and transportation of waste. Though waste may not always make prime time news, the technologies that help with waste management have made great strides, and now Cummins is pushing it even further by providing fuel cells for some of the first licensed and commercially operational fuel cell refuse trucks in Europe. 

FAUN illustration
Image courtesy of FAUN

In partnership with leading European truck manufacturers, system integrators, waste management fleet operators and hydrogen infrastructure providers, Cummins is aiding in the development of fuel cell electric heavy-duty refuse trucks for the European market. To date, Cummins has provided more than 20 fuel cell power modules, often referred to as fuel cell “engines,” to a range of truck builders across Europe.  

Cummins recently supplied fuel cells for FAUN, a leader in waste collection vehicles and sweepers in Europe, for their electric refuse truck program. Each truck has 100% electric drive and is 100% emissions free with a range of up to 560 km, which is enough to run the collection route multiple times carrying 10 tons of waste.  

Fuel cell refuse truck
Image courtesy of FAUN

In addition to the electric motor and batteries, fuel cells are used to extend the range of the truck. Each truck contains three fuel cells - the number is determined by route requirements - with an output of up to 30kW per cell. Each truck has up to six hydrogen tanks, each with a capacity of four kilograms of hydrogen. The total weight of each vehicle is equal to that of a refuse truck equipped with a conventional engine, meaning payload is the same. These trucks will soon be on the road in multiple towns across Germany.   

Providing zero-emissions and noise reduction are some of the benefits of fuel cell technologies, benefits that are vital when operating in densely populated urban areas with strict emissions regulations. Proving technology viability means refuse trucks act as a persuasive first mover for other government vehicles, like buses and applications where current battery technology is not able to handle all requirements for heavier vehicles and longer ranges. As a result, in early spring, Cummins joined 43 other companies and pledged their support for the ‘Joint call for the deployment of hydrogen fuel cell trucks’ in Europe.  

With the help of Cummins technology waste just got a little bit cleaner.  

With more than 2,000 fuel cell systems in operation already, we’re excited to see what’s next! 

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins is a global power leader that designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel and alternative fuel engines from 2.8 to 95 liters, diesel and alternative-fueled electrical generator sets from 2.5 to 3,500 kW, as well as related components and technology. Cummins serves its customers through its network of 600 company-owned and independent distributor facilities and more than 7,200 dealer locations in over 190 countries and territories.

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