Decentralised electrolysers can address HGV infrastructure worries


Decentralised polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) electrolyser technology could address the lack of hydrogen refilling stations across Europe ahead of the deadline to end fossil fuel HGV sales by 2040.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has urged the UK Government to set out plans for HGV hydrogen refilling stations, as the logistics and transportation sectors strive to cut emissions in line with net zero targets. Claiming decarbonisation as ‘impossible’ for most operators without public investment in infrastructure, the SMMT said it is concerned that the deadline will be missed without immediate action.

According to engineering specialists at IMI Critical Engineering, the development and uptake of PEM electrolyser technology could bridge the gap between the current lack of hydrogen refilling stations and future fleet decarbonisation. Specifically, the company is highlighting the importance of decentralised solutions that produce green hydrogen on-site at logistics and transportation firm depots.

“Transitioning HGVs to sustainable fuels will be crucial to ensuring the UK’s and Europe’s logistics and transportation industries hit key emissions and decarbonisation targets,” said Jackie Hu, divisional managing sirector for IMI Critical Engineering. “The SMMT is right to voice its concerns about a lack of hydrogen refilling stations, which is being echoed in other European markets. However, regardless of insufficient infrastructure, immediate solutions must be found to ensure the sector can make the change as smoothly as possible.

“Deploying small, turnkey electrolyser solutions that draw power from green energy sources at fleet depots and business premises could, therefore, be a vital first step for organisations looking to use hydrogen for power-to-mobility purposes. Combined with other on-site equipment, such as low-pressure buffer tanks for storage and high-pressure compressors required for refuelling, these solutions could help alleviate the sector’s concerns.”

The IMI VIVO PEM electrolyser, which produces green hydrogen from renewable sources such as solar and wind power, has been designed for organisations with power demands between 100 kilowatts to five megawatts that may fall below the threshold for larger solutions in the market. According to Hu, this smaller size, alongside IMI Critical Engineering’s technical expertise in developing and providing ancillary equipment, makes it well-placed for businesses looking to implement hydrogen into their energy mix and ongoing operations.

“Hydrogen is going to play a crucial role in the transition to cleaner and more sustainable energy sources, and electrolyser technology will be key to this,” Hu added. “It cannot be denied that there are challenges ahead when it comes to decarbonising the HGV and logistics sector, which is why businesses must seek out suppliers who can assist with these efforts.

“As regulations become stricter in the UK and Europe, businesses must adopt greener practices. IMI Critical Engineering can help by providing low-pressure hydrogen storage technology and smaller electrolysers. This partnership can give proactive organisations a competitive advantage by securing their hydrogen supply and lead the way towards a better world.”

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