Anheuser-Busch orders hundreds of hydrogen trucks from zero-emission startup Nikola PDF Print E-mail
Photo: Nikola Motor Company

Hydrogen-powered semi truck startup Nikola Motor Company announced today that Anheuser-Busch, the maker of Budweiser beer, has placed an order for “up to” 800 of its zero-emission big rigs. Nikola says it will start delivering the trucks to the beer distributor in 2020, and that it will show off a final production version of the truck at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show. Other terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Nikola, which just this week filed a patent lawsuit against Tesla, says that its trucks are supposed to get anywhere from 500 to over 1,000 miles on a full tank of hydrogen fuel, which gets used to power an electric motor. The trucks can be refueled in about 20 minutes, the company says. To support this and other future orders, Nikola says it’s planning to build “over 700 hydrogen stations” in the US and Canada by 2028. It’s working with Anheuser-Busch to develop the first 28 of those public hydrogen fueling stations, the company says, with the first two opening later this year.


Anheuser-Busch also preordered 40 of Tesla’s fully electric semi trucks


This is not the first bet Anheuser-Busch has placed on medium-haul trucks powered by renewable energy, nor is it the company’s first flirtation with generating headlines by way of aligning with advanced technology. The beverage conglomerate recently preordered 40 of Tesla’s electric semi trucks. It also offered up 50,000 cans of Budweiser to be the first shipment on the self-driving trucks being developed by Uber.

But Anheuser-Busch recently announced a new sustainability effort and said that it wants to power its entire “dedicated fleet” (aka the trucks it directly operates in its supply chain) with renewable energy by 2025. That dedicated fleet maxes out at about 900 trucks, the company says, which accounts for about a third of its distribution network. Nikola’s trucks will be “critical” for meeting that goal, according to Ties Soeters, Anheuser-Busch’s vice president of logistics procurement.

“The reality of achieving that goal is more down to Nikola’s capabilities to deliver on various promises,” Soeters said on a conference call with reporters this morning. “The only way that we’ll ever get to a number less than that is if those things don’t come to fruition.”

That said, other deals like the one with Tesla offer a bit of a hedge, Soeters said. “We’re looking at multiple technologies, honestly,” he said. “The reality is we see the technology that both Nikola and other alternatives represent as being complimentary within our overall portfolio. And we do believe that the various technologies that exist out there will allow us to be able to achieve our ultimate goals.”

The wiggle room in the language of today’s announcement — “up to 800” — is a nod to the fact that Nikola is not yet in production, and therefore, it has a ways to go before it can manufacturing hundreds of trucks. “We don’t know how fast we can build those,” Nikola CEO Trevor Milton said on the call. “We have a contract to deliver 800 trucks To Anheuser Busch, but it depends on how fast we can build them and build the stations.”


Nikola’s manufacturing partner has recently come under fire for the pollution levels of its own trucks


Anheuser-Busch is putting a lot of faith in what is still a very young company. But while Nikola is a startup, it has already secured lots of help from established industry players. Ryder is handling distribution and maintenance for Nikola’s forthcoming fleet of trucks, and the big rigs will be built by trucking company Fitzgerald until the startup gets its 1 million-square-foot manufacturing plant up and running in Arizona.

Fitzgerald is best known for building “glider” trucks, which are built without engines. This allows them to be retrofitted with rebuilt engines. This ultimately lowers the cost, but it also could lead to more pollution. Fitzgerald has recently come under fire for its glider trucks because the rebuilt engines are able to skirt emissions rules. And an analysis done by the EPA in 2017 showed that Fitzgerald’s trucks emitted 43 times as much nitrogen oxide as trucks that comply with modern emissions standards.

Asked in a follow-up email how this squares with Nikola’s green ethos, Milton said “[e]very zero-emission Nikola truck we build at Fitzgerald will take another diesel off the road. That is our goal.”

Photographer: Jin Lee/Bloomberg FedEx Rolls Out First Hydrogen-Fueled Delivery Van in New York PDF Print E-mail
May 1, 2018, 10:39 AM EDT
  • Fuel-cell-powered vehicles gaining in buses and forklifts, too
  • Technology has long trailed hybrids and plug-in vehicles

FedEx Corp. has begun delivering packages in upstate New York with its first hydrogen-powered van in North America.

The roll-out is a milestone for hydrogen vehicles, which are emission-free but have struggled to attain the success of hybrids and plug-in electric vehicles. That’s largely because there isn’t a network of hydrogen filling stations. Now the technology is catching on in forklifts, buses and other vehicles that return to a central fueling depot.

“This is one way we’re working to revolutionize transportation,” Mitch Jackson, chief sustainability officer at FedEx, said in a statement Tuesday.

 FedEx’s van is powered by a fuel cell that converts hydrogen into electricity, running a virtually silent engine that emits only a trickle of water as a byproduct. It was built by an Ohio company called Workhorse Group Inc., using a fuel cell from Plug Power Inc. The van will refuel at a station in Latham, New York, where Plug is based. The company rose 0.6 percent to $1.84 a share at 10:26 a.m. in New York.

Another fuel cell vehicle supplier, Ballard Power Systems Inc., on Tuesday said it secured agreements to supply 40 fuel cell modules to power Van Hool NV buses in Germany. Burnaby, British Columbia-based Ballard rose 2.2 percent to $3.28 at 10:27 a.m., after earlier rising as much as 8.1 percent.

Hydrogen-powered transport key to climate targets, says Shell PDF Print E-mail

Oil firm says gas could account for 10% of global energy consumptionby end of century


 Planes and trucks powered by hydrogen will be a crucial part of efforts to cut carbon emissions to safe levels, according to oil giant Shell.

For the first time, the Anglo Dutch firm, which is facing calls by activist shareholders to take stronger action on global warming, has mapped out how the world could hit the Paris climate deal’s target of keeping temperature rises below 2C.

While development of hydrogen cars has stalled in the face of rapid growth in battery-electric vehicles, Shell believes the gas could account for 10% of global energy consumption by the end of the century.

The company’s Sky scenario, published on Monday, envisages that as fossil fuel use declines, old oil and gas facilities will be repurposed for hydrogen storage and transport.

 Shell has no large scale hydrogen production but is a major player in natural gas, from which hydrogen can be made. The company launched its first hydrogen refuelling station in the UK last year and on Tuesday will open a second at a service station in Buckinghamshire.

 The scenario envisages the first intercontinental flight in 2040. By 2070, the majority of trucks will be powered by hydrogen or batteries, as Tesla is planning.

Shell sees oil demand stagnating in the 2020s, followed by gas demand falling rapidly from 2040 as competition from renewables bites.

Many power grids will be forced by legislation to become entirely run off solar, wind and hydro power by 2040. But the biggest impact from governments will come from carbon taxes or prices put in place by 2030 across rich countries and China.

Industry watchers noted that the Sky scenario would still see temperatures rise to around 1.7-1.8C, above the Paris accord’s goal of pursuing efforts to limit rises to 1.5C, in addition to “well below” 2C.

Waterfront to Add Four More Methanol-Fueled Ships PDF Print E-mail
zoomImage Courtesy: Waterfront Shipping Company

Canada-based Waterfront Shipping Company (WFS) and partners have unveiled an investment to build four new ocean-going vessels powered by clean-burning methanol fuel.

The parties, including Mitsui & Co. Ltd. (Mitsui), NYK Group (NYK), Marinvest/Skagerack Invest (Marinvest) and IINO Kaiun Kaisha (IINO), would see the four 49,000 dwt tankers delivered in 2019 from the South Korean shipbuilder Hyundai Mipo Dockyard.

WFS will charter the quartet to replace older tonnage and support growing demand for methanol around the world. Two of the vessels will be owned in a joint venture between WFS and Marinvest, one will be owned by NYK and the fourth will be owned in a joint venture between IINO and Mitsui.

To feature MAN B&W ME-LGI 2-stroke dual-fuel engines that can run on methanol, fuel oil, marine diesel oil or gas oil, the newbuildings will join the existing seven methanol-fueled vessels chartered by WFS.

In 2016, WFS, Marinvest, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines and Westfal-Larsen Management received the seven previously ordered fuel-efficient ocean-going vessels.

“With seven engines already in operation and proven in the field, this new order confirms the ME-LGI concept as a mature technology. Since this dual-fuel engine entered the market in 2016, its price has dropped considerably, which makes it an even more attractive propulsion option,” René Sejer Laursen, Promotion Manager, MAN Diesel & Turbo, said.

Paul Hexter, President at Waterfront Shipping, informed that 40 percent of the company’s fleet would be powered by methanol-fuel technology in the coming year.

IGP Methanol Partners with COSCO and Jinguotou to Further Develop IGP's Gulf Coast Methanol Park PDF Print E-mail


IGP Methanol 

Mar 14, 2018, 08:40 ET

 HOUSTON, March 14, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- IGP Methanol (IGP), COSCO, and Jinguotou (JGT) agreed to cooperate to construct up to two methanol plants in IGP Methanol's Gulf Coast Methanol Park to supply feedstock for Jinguotou's Methanol-to-Olefins (MTO) facility at Jin Zhou Port. The plants will each have a capacity of 1.8 million tons of methanol per year.

IGP Methanol Chairman Mr. James S Lamoureaux said, "IGP is pleased to begin this cooperation with internationally esteemed logistics company COSCO and JGT. The project will assure long-term stable and low-priced pure methanol for JGT's MTO projects as well as supply ultra-clean fuels to China, from abundant US natural gas resources. IGP's local US construction and operations will create thousands of jobs in Louisiana and the local communities in the US Gulf Coast."

The cooperation with IGP and JGT brings opportunity for COSCO to access and participate in the new Green Energy Revolution Market. It is a key step for COSCO to move toward new clean transportation fuels, promoting the transformation and upgrading of traditional businesses for COSCO Energy Transportation, while providing strong support for IGP Methanol and JGT methanol distribution.

Methanol is the fastest-growing New Energy fuel in China being used to replace coal in industrial boilers while reducing pollution by 95%. It is also growing globally as a low-sulfur, low NOx marine fuel that also reduces PM2.5 by 95% and SOx by 99%.

China COSCO Shipping Energy Transportation Co., Ltd, IGP Methanol LLC and Jinguotou (Dalian) Development Co., Ltd (JGT) signed a "Memorandum of Understanding on US Gulf Coast Methanol Project Cooperation" (MOU) in Shanghai. Mr. Huang Xiaowen, Executive Vice President of China COSCO Shipping Corporation Limited attended and witnessed the signing ceremony. Mr. Liu Hanbo, President of COSCO Shipping Energy Transportation Co., Ltd and Mr. James S. Lamoureaux, Chairman of IGP Methanol LLC and Mr. Ning Hongpeng, Vice President of Jinzhou Port Co., Ltd signed the MOU on behalf of the three Parties.

The companies also intend to discuss the feasibility of building new shipping vessels for the project, which can run on methanol, supporting government policies for clean energy and blue skies.

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