Gray to green: carbon-neutral hydrogen applications you might not know about

From gray to green: Carbon-neutral hydrogen applications

By the end of this article you'll know so much about gray and green hydrogen that you'll have to pinch yourself. 

In the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day and all the green that comes with it, we want to discuss what it means to go from gray to green hydrogen.

We’ve covered the basics of electrolyzers, and you might already be familiar with some common applications for hydrogen such as fuel cell electric trucks and trains. But what about those applications that go beyond on-and off-highway?

Hydrogen has numerous applications that you may not be as familiar with, and it’s these applications that hold the potential to completely transform the way the world uses power – and what our carbon footprint looks like while doing so.

Decarbonizing industries with hydrogen is no simple task, but major progress is being made in turning “gray” hydrogen (some associated emissions) into “green” hydrogen (zero emissions). Read on to learn more about the different ways hydrogen can power our world with zero emissions.

Power Grid Balancing

Similar to the concept of supply and demand in economics, an electrical grid also deals with differences between its power supply and the power demanded of it. Electrical grids can’t tailor their power output to how many people are blow drying their hair, turning on their dishwasher or turning on their Christmas lights at any given moment. That’s good news because it means you’ll almost always have power available to you when you need it, but it’s also bad news because it means a lot of power generation capacity can be underutilized at times.

That’s where electrolyzers come in. Electrolyzers can be used to balance the electrical grid and get compensated for doing so. Excess energy from the electrical grid can be used to power electrolyzers, which make hydrogen. Hydrogen can store this excess energy and be used in a number of applications without emissions. Because this is a paid service that the electrolyzer offers to stabilize the electrical network, this helps to reduce the total cost of hydrogen.

But it doesn’t stop at electrical grids. Hydrogen generation can also be used as a means of storing fluctuating power from renewable energy sources. One of the limiting factors of solar is that they are not always available when we need them and sometimes, this means valuable power is wasted.

Once again, electrolyzers come to the rescue. Excess (clean) energy from renewable sources like wind and solar can power electrolyzers to make green hydrogen without any associated emissions. As more fluctuating renewable energy sources get added to power grids, electrolyzers and hydrogen will prove even more vital in the production of green hydrogen. The hydrogen produced allows this clean renewable energy to be used to fuel heavy-duty bus, truck or commuter train fleets and decarbonize the natural gas grid. As more fluctuating renewable energy sources get added to power grids, electrolyzers and hydrogen will prove even more vital in the production of green hydrogen.

Power to Gas

Even applications that don’t run on hydrogen fuel cells can benefit from lower emissions because of hydrogen. One way to do this is injecting the natural gas pipeline with hydrogen. Think of it as a gas cocktail — the same way you might add club soda to make a drink a little lighter, hydrogen can be added to natural gas to lower its carbon content and reduce its carbon emissions.

Cummins and Enbridge announced at the end of 2020 that the hydrogen we produce to balance the grid will be injected in the natural gas pipeline network in order to “green” the gas supply. Emissions regulations worldwide are changing, and soon some countries and states may impose a minimum percentage of renewable natural gas required in the natural gas grid. This minimum percentage is bound to increase over time, demanding practical solutions like hydrogen blending.

Sustainable Fertilizer

As our world continues to reckon with a climate crisis, it’s become evident that we need to pursue greener hydrogen from every angle possible, including its use in agriculture.

The ammonia industry is one of the biggest consumers of hydrogen across the world. Around half of the current worldwide production of hydrogen is used to make ammonia, which, in turn, is principally used to make fertilizers. Since more than 95% of the world’s hydrogen is produced using fossil fuels, also known as grey hydrogen, the production of ammonia is responsible for nearly 2% of annual global carbon dioxide emissions!

The good news is that replacing the gray hydrogen used in the production of fertilizer with green hydrogen (made through zero-emission electrolysis) would produce a truly sustainable fertilizer.

The interest in reducing the carbon intensity of fertilizer is growing. With regulatory incentives and carbon taxes, this shift to using green will accelerate — making it a cost-effective alternative that’s better for the environment and the agriculture industry.

Greener Ethanol and Methanol

Ethanol is currently used to reduce emissions of the gas that powers cars and other vehicles that have traditional gas engines. Most gas that powers cars and trucks (excluding diesel) in the U.S. contains up to 10% ethanol — some fuel made for E-85 compatible engines contains up to 85% ethanol. Ethanol is usually made by fermenting feedstock like corn, especially in places like the Midwest where corn is abundant.

Our opportunity to create greener ethanol, though, lies in the production of ethanol or methanol from carbon and hydrogen. Similar to ammonia, the hydrogen in ethanol comes mostly from natural gas, which generates carbon emissions that are harmful to the environment.

With the right technology and infrastructure, the gray hydrogen that goes into ethanol can be replaced with green hydrogen. This can lower the carbon emissions of the gas we use to power cars, trucks and anything running on a gas engine.

You may be more familiar with ethanol than you think. It’s actually alcohol — yes, the kind you can drink! If distilled multiple times, the same ethanol that can make our gasoline more green can be consumed in a drink. We’re speaking chemically here, of course, so don’t go trying this at home and please leave it to the professional distillers. In fact, a company called the Air Co. makes a carbon-negative vodka from air and green hydrogen. On the other hand, methanol is a non-drinking type of alcohol with various traditional applications such as in the chemical sector (paint, fleece, plywood, etc.) blended to make cleaner fuels and used to produce energy when used as a fuel. One of the benefits of methanol is that it is much easier to transport than hydrogen in gaseous or liquid form, therefore, companies around the world are looking at exporting green methanol as a commodity.

Carbon-neutral Jet Fuel

Green hydrogen isn’t limited to ground-level applications and it has the potential to power a Boeing 737. With the right engineering, planes could fly on jet fuel made from a process of combining CO2 captured from the air and green hydrogen.

While it may not be 100% green from well to wheel — turbine combustion will create some emissions — the difference is that it is carbon-neutral fuel, meaning the CO2 captured in producing the fuel is released during combustion, so there is no net CO2 released. In short, we could soon see green jet fuel in the “well” part of the equation — aeronautical engineering is still working on greening the “wheel” half.

It’s evident that the “green equation” is quite complicated. There are a lot of factors that go into establishing hydrogen as one of many potential solutions to reducing worldwide fossil fuel emissions and ultimately mitigating the climate crisis.

But where there are questions, there are answers to be found — and Cummins is up for the challenge. Over the past century, we’ve ushered in new technologies that others didn’t believe in or found impractical or even impossible. With 100 years of experience in innovation and a commitment to developing sustainable power, Cummins is all in on hydrogen as a power solution for the future.

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins, a global power technology leader, is a corporation of complementary business segments that design, manufacture, distribute and service a broad portfolio of power solutions. The company’s products range from internal combustion, electric and hybrid integrated power solutions and components including filtration, aftertreatment, turbochargers, fuel systems, controls systems, air handling systems, automated transmissions, electric power generation systems, microgrid controls, batteries, electrolyzers and fuel cell products.

Cummins announces new dewatering pumps

Dewatering pump

Cummins Inc. (NYSE: CMI) announced the availability of two new dewatering pump solutions for use in construction, oil & gas, agricultural, mining, water and waste water environments.  The QSF4X4 and QSF6X6 offer customers a fully finished pump for use in their operations powered by Cummins’ QSF2.8 engine.

“The new pumps are a culmination of many hours of customer research. Product reliability and uptime are very important to them, so we have developed a robust package that is backed by Cummins strong support network,” said Greg Totin, Cummins Industrial Sales Director.

These pumps are built with a heavy-duty cast-iron construction and produced on a fully towable trailer for ease of transportation. They are able to self-prime when filled with water, and re-prime automatically. The Cummins QSF6X6 is designed for moderate flow rates up to 1,430 gpm and can handle heads up to 104 feet. The Cummins QSF4X4 supports flow rates up to 1,350 gpm and can handle heads up to 135 feet. 

Cummins QSF2.8 engine which powers the pumps is available for industrial applications at 74 hp in compact envelope size.  It uses proven Cummins fuel injection, turbocharging and electronic control technology to deliver a peak torque of 221 lb-ft, while meeting near-zero emissions Tier 4 Final emissions.  The sculptured cast-iron block, give the 2.8 liter engine durability with a low weight of 507 lb.

“They new pumps are compatible with our telematics services to help maximize availability and efficiency while minimizing downtime,” added Totin 

The QSF6X6 and QSF4X4 are available throughout North America and will be on display at the ARA show in February at Cummins booth number 5056 and in March at ConExpo at booth S84615. Interested customers should reach out their local dealer for more information. 


About Cummins 

Cummins Inc., a global power technology leader, is a corporation of complementary business segments that design, manufacture, distribute and service a broad portfolio of power solutions. The company’s products range from internal combustion, electric and hybrid integrated power solutions and components including filtration, aftertreatment, turbochargers, fuel systems, controls systems, air handling systems, automated transmissions, electric power generation systems, microgrid controls, batteries, electrolyzers and fuel cell products. Headquartered in Columbus, Indiana (U.S.), since its founding in 1919, Cummins employs approximately 59,900 people committed to powering a more prosperous world through three global corporate responsibility priorities critical to healthy communities: education, environment and equality of opportunity. Cummins serves its customers online, through a network of company-owned and independent distributor locations, and through thousands of dealer locations worldwide and earned about $2.1 billion on sales of $24 billion in 2021. 

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins, a global power technology leader, is a corporation of complementary business segments that design, manufacture, distribute and service a broad portfolio of power solutions. The company’s products range from internal combustion, electric and hybrid integrated power solutions and components including filtration, aftertreatment, turbochargers, fuel systems, controls systems, air handling systems, automated transmissions, electric power generation systems, microgrid controls, batteries, electrolyzers and fuel cell products.

Cummins natural gas engines transport more than 150 million people in North India for 15 years

bus in movement

Natural gas engines from Cummins can offer considerable longevity and reliability when properly maintained – so much so they are lasting decades and counting. 

Between 2008 and 2009, more than 3,730 Cummins B Gas Plus natural gas engines were procured through OEM partners Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland and delivered to the National Capital Region of India. Deployed into the Delhi transport Corporation’s (DTC) transit bus fleet, nearly 15 years later, the engines remain in service. To date, the buses have travelled approximately 5.4 billion kilometers – yes, billion – over the last 15 years.

bus

These engines prove what Maged Tadros, General Manager of Cummins Global Bus Business likes to tell his customers: “Adopting Cummins natural gas engines into your fleets can help achieve several operational and economic benefits.”

As the lowest total emissions engine on the market for trucks and buses, Cummins natural gas engines run on an abundant, low-cost fuel, with a maintenance free three-way catalyst exhaust treatment system. 

The need for reliable transportation is essential. Over the past 15 years, the Cummins B Gas Plus natural gas engines have helped more than 150 million Indian residents get to where they need to be and will continue to do so for the years to come.

click to view infographic
Click to view infographic

“Cummins engines are sought after globally for their world-class reliability and durability,” explained Puneet Jhawar, General Manager – Natural Gas. “We have learned a lot from our experience in India, among other countries adopting natural gas engines, learnings that have influenced our next generation of engines.”

Last year, Cummins announced the B6.7 natural gas engine will be available in India. Built for school buses, shuttles, and medium-duty trucks, the B6.7N boasts up to 240 hp/560 lbs-ft torque.

As the most mature, proven, and least disruptive alternative power technology available today, natural gas engines offer range flexibility and deliver a similar power, performance, and driving experience as diesel engines. Cummins natural gas engines help fleets reduced their overall environmental impact without significantly increasing the cost of operation or sacrificing performance or uptime.

The power of Cummins’ natural gas engines was on display at the India Auto Expo in Greater Noida Uttar Pradesh, India this month.

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins, a global power technology leader, is a corporation of complementary business segments that design, manufacture, distribute and service a broad portfolio of power solutions. The company’s products range from internal combustion, electric and hybrid integrated power solutions and components including filtration, aftertreatment, turbochargers, fuel systems, controls systems, air handling systems, automated transmissions, electric power generation systems, microgrid controls, batteries, electrolyzers and fuel cell products.

Five Wins of New Power

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As we near the end of 2022, we are celebrating some of the accomplishments that made this an exciting and innovative year for New Power. In the last 12 months, we expanded our technologies, grew as a business and continued to blaze the trail toward a zero-emissions future. Join us as we reflect on five wins from our New Power business unit that helped make this year truly spectacular.

snow scene
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Welcome to our battery family, LFP

The newest member of our battery family is the lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery, which expands our support of electrified commercial vehicle applications. LFPs are faster charging and longer-life batteries, and are used in the medium duty truck and school bus markets. LFPs don’t require nickel or cobalt, making them more affordable and sustainable. With faster charging, higher power and a 10% longer life expectancy, Cummins LFP batteries are designed to meet the demands of continuous operation and have a lower total cost of ownership.

Green travel is on track: Our fuel cell systems are powering the world’s first 100%-hydrogen passenger train fleet

Holiday vacation plans? Visit us in Europe where we’re powering the world’s first fleet of hydrogen trains. The Alstom Coradia iLint trains are outfitted with Cummins fuel cell systems and run on the world’s first 100%-hydrogen-powered passenger train route. The trains convert hydrogen fuel into energy and turn existing, non-electrified infrastructure into zero-emission rail lines. These trains emit only steam and condensed water while in service and operate with low noise levels that improve both operator and passenger comfort.

The hydrogen fuel cell systems used in the trains are assembled at Cummins’ Hydrogen Fuel Cell Systems Production Center in Herten, Germany. The facility was fully operational in 2022, enabling accelerated adoption of hydrogen technologies across Europe and the globe.

North America? Check. Europe? Check. We’ve expanded our New Power footprint across the globe

This year, we drove the green hydrogen economy forward across the globe by supporting new infrastructure projects and advancing government decarbonization goals.

We have broken ground on our new gigawatt PEM electrolyzer manufacturing plant in Guadalajara, Castilla-La Mancha, Spain. Construction is scheduled to be complete by the end of 2023. The 200,000 sq. ft. facility will have the capacity to produce 500MW per year, scalable to more than 1GW per year.

Our Oevel, Belgium electrolyzer manufacturing facility expanded its capacity to 1GW thanks to the Important Project of Common European Interest (IPCEI) Hy2Tech program. IPCEI will help Cummins develop a new generation of PEM electrolyzer cell stacks to power large-scale hydrogen production systems. Operation began at our new Hydrogen Fuel Cell Systems Production Center in Herten, Germany this year, which further enables the adoption of hydrogen technologies across Europe. 

We expanded our Mississauga, Ontario, Canada campus by adding a third facility dedicated to hydrogen technology. The new facility accommodates the company’s growing staff, hydrogen production capacity and new product development, putting Cummins in a better position to support the developing hydrogen market in North America.

The wait is over - our electrified powertrains made their official debut

We unveiled the Meritor 17Xe ePowertrain integrated with a Cummins battery system. The 17Xe is designed for heavy-duty trucks with the capacity to support 44 tons of gross combined weight. The assembly also features Cummins’ new lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery pack. 

Our clean drivetrain options offer performance and packaging advantages for diverse applications across the globe.

Electrolyzers are stateside: We’re starting production in the U.S.

We announced that we'll begin producing electrolyzers in the U.S. for the first time at our Fridley, Minnesota facility. To drive the domestic green hydrogen economy forward, we'll start at 500 megawatts (MW) of manufacturing capacity annually, scalable to 1 gigawatt (GW) in the future. 

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins, a global power technology leader, is a corporation of complementary business segments that design, manufacture, distribute and service a broad portfolio of power solutions. The company’s products range from internal combustion, electric and hybrid integrated power solutions and components including filtration, aftertreatment, turbochargers, fuel systems, controls systems, air handling systems, automated transmissions, electric power generation systems, microgrid controls, batteries, electrolyzers and fuel cell products.

Seven Cummins employees receive prestigious Julius Perr Innovation Award

recipients holding trophies

Cummins Inc. (NYSE:CMI) announced the 2022 recipients of the company’s most prestigious technical award, the Julius Perr Innovation award. Now in its 23rd year, the award recognizes employees who demonstrated excellence in innovation and technology by developing significant intellectual property for our products.

This year’s recipients are Cummins employees Richard Ancimer, Krishna Kamasamudram, Ashok Kumar, Guoqiang Li, Tim Proctor, Michael Wilson, and Aleksey Yezerets. Acknowledgement also goes to Neal Currier, Ed Hodzen, and Vivek Sujan.

ABOUT THE INNOVATIONS

The first winning patents relate to the mitigation of sulfur accumulation on a selective reduction catalyst (SCR).

Ancimer, Currier, Kamasamudram, Kumar, and Yezerets developed methodologies to not only monitor this accumulation of sulfur but regenerate the catalysts faster, and at lower temperatures, through the synchronization of engine operating conditions during regeneration. Their work is employed on Cummins products, such as Euro IV/V/VI, EPA 2010, Tier IV, and in regions high sulfur fuel, and will likely continue playing a role in meeting future emission regulations.

Wilson developed a different approach targeted for the service channel in areas with high sulfur fuel, particularly the Euro V products in South America.  A key feature of his invention involves the deactivation of cylinders, and his work has been cited numerous times by non-Cummins patents.

For second winning technology, Hodzen, Li, Proctor, and Sujan invented the SmartTorque2 (ST2) feature, which is part of the award-winning Eaton Cummins SmartAdvantageTM  Powertrain. This feature automatically senses a variety of factors, such as grade and weight, and selects the optimum torque for performance and fuel economy. The invention was first in production in 2013 and has been a standard offering of the X15 product since 2017.

ABOUT THE AWARDS

This award was created to honor Dr. Julius Perr, who retired from Cummins in 1997 as Vice President - Fuel Systems.  Dr. Perr, who passed away in 2005, joined Cummins in 1958 after fleeing Communist Hungary.  He made Columbus, Indiana (USA) home and began a 41-year career as a Cummins engineer and leader.  In his lifetime, he was named the inventor or co-inventor of 186 granted patents and remains an inspiration to many in our industry.

2022 CEREMONY

The Julius Perr Innovation Awards Ceremony was held in-person with senior Technical Leaders, members of the Perr family, the 2022 Perr Award winners and their guests on October 18, 2022. Four winners, Krishna Kamasamudram, Ashok Kumar, Guoqiang Li and Michael Wilson, were able to attend in person to receive their awards. The other three winners were unable to attend, but their award and special recognition have been provided to them separately.

REVIEW COMMITTEE 

Members of a selection committee, made up of leaders from across all business units, meet yearly to evaluate patents that have created significant value for our products. In 2022, over 1,100 patents were reviewed for consideration before selecting the final patent award recipients. Since 2000, only 84 patents have been selected for this prestigious award with each invention adding value to our brand promise of innovation and dependability.

Congratulations again to the 2022 recipients on the honor of winning the 2022 Julius Perr Innovation Award.

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins, a global power technology leader, is a corporation of complementary business segments that design, manufacture, distribute and service a broad portfolio of power solutions. The company’s products range from internal combustion, electric and hybrid integrated power solutions and components including filtration, aftertreatment, turbochargers, fuel systems, controls systems, air handling systems, automated transmissions, electric power generation systems, microgrid controls, batteries, electrolyzers and fuel cell products.

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