Daimler & Linde to develop liquid hydrogen fuel stations

Linde and Daimler Truck have signed an agreement to jointly develop the next generation of liquid hydrogen refuelling technology for fuel cell trucks.

With their collaboration, the partners aim to make hydrogen refuelling as easy and practical as possible, according to Daimler. Daimler Trucks announced in September that it was developing the GenH2 truck, a fuel cell truck with a range of 1,000 kilometres that is expected to go into series production in the second half of the decade. Daimler Trucks is relying on liquid hydrogen (called LH2) rather than pressurized tanks to store the hydrogen. LH2 offers a significantly higher energy density as well as lighter tanks, but must be cooled to -253 degrees Celsius.

The focus of the cooperation with the gases group Linde is a new refuelling process for liquid hydrogen (“subcooled” liquid hydrogen, “sLH2 technology”). The process relies not only on cooled and thus liquefied hydrogen, but also on a “higher pressure level compared to ambient pressure,” according to the statement. Daimler does not specify an order of magnitude for this pressure level, however. In combination with temperature control, the so-called “boil-off” effect and “return gas” (gas from the vehicle tank flowing back to the filling station’s tank) are to be avoided during refuelling.

According to Daimler, this process ” will not require complex data communication between the filling station and the truck during refuelling.” This, it says, should enable simpler refuelling station concepts. However, Daimler does not provide any details on the maintenance and control of the pressure components and the low-temperature storage system. This is now likely to be determined during development, with the first refuelling planned for 2023 at a pilot station in Germany.

During development, Daimler and Linde want to achieve “a high degree of transparency and openness around the relevant interfaces of the jointly developed technologies.” The hope is that as many other companies as possible will join in and develop their own solutions “using the new liquid hydrogen standard”, so that a “global mass market for the new process can be established.”

“The hydrogen-based fuel cell is a key technology of strategic importance,” says Sven Ennerst, member of the Daimler-Truck AG Board of Management responsible for development, purchasing and the China region. “With our collaboration with Linde as an expert in hydrogen refuelling technology, we want to increase the viability and acceptance in the industry of fuel-cell trucks on the basis of hydrogen. The new process can further enhance the numerous advantages that liquid hydrogen offers.”



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