Back-to-base: Overcoming the hydrogen refueling roadblock
The transportation sector moves economies but is one of the bigger culprits when it comes to global greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for over 16% of all global emissions.
Hydrogen plays an important role in the decarbonization of the transportation sector as a clean, simple and sustainable fuel. Hyzon fuel cell vehicles are near silent and only emit water vapor, eliminating the need for heavy diesel vehicles.
However, one of the biggest challenges in widespread Hydrogen adoption is refueling infrastructure. That’s why, at Hyzon, we focus on a back-to-base refueling model.
How does a back-to-base model work?
The back-to-base model is simple. You start and end your trip at the same point – your refueling station.
We’re leveraging the power of hydrogen by developing hubs for customers with back-to-base operations. In doing so, we can localize hydrogen production to locally available resources. This lowers the production cost and eliminates transport cost, leading to a TCO at or below diesel parity in the next 12-18 months.
In a recent interview with Cheddar News, Hyzon CEO Craig Knight said that the vehicles could be used for long hours and then be returned to a refueling center.
“At Hyzon, we focus on back-to-base fleet operations. These are vehicles that come back to where they started,” Knight said. “These vehicles are used many hours a day, but they come back to the base.”
Where it’s working already
One of Hyzon’s customers, the City of Rotterdam, presents a great example of how effective this back-to-base model is.
With an ambitious goal of reducing gas emissions by 49% by 2030, the City of Rotterdam recently purchased hydrogen waste collection trucks which start and end at one central refueling center.
Another example is the 55-ton hydrogen fuel cell-powered milk truck we recently delivered to Transport Groep Noord, a carrier providing transport for multinational dairy company Royal FrieslandCampina N.V.
This vehicle has up to 520 kilometer range with motor power up to 550 kilowatt capacity. Transport Groep Noord plans to operate the truck on specific routes in the North of the Netherlands, and will start and end its journey each day at one central refueling center.
We’ve committed to developing widespread hydrogen production hubs. In April 2021, we announced a joint venture with RAVEN SR to build up to 100 hydrogen production hubs around the world.
The initial hubs are expected to process 50 tons of solid waste daily, per hub, and are expected to yield up to 4.5 tons of renewable green hydrogen each, enough hydrogen to power 100 heavy-duty commercial vehicles. One hundred hydrogen hubs could convert over 5,000 tons of waste per day and power over 10,000 trucks.
At the end of the day, each truck can return to the hub and be fully charged in 15-20 minutes.
Hyzon CEO Craig Knight told Cheddar News that this back-to-base model ensures that the investment in hydrogen supply is minimal.
“This model ensures that while you have scale in the adoption, a lot of vehicles in the fleet for example, you’ll also have a realistic and fairly minimal investment in the hydrogen supply side because you are creating a demand center where the vehicles are always coming in and out of the same facility,” Knight said.
“It’s really important for the hydrogen infrastructure to be a practical investment, so we go after these back-to-base fleets with very high daily usage cycles.”