US oil company Chevron and vehicle maker Cummins – previously best known for its truck engines – have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to discuss business opportunities in hydrogen and other alternative energy sources.
The initial collaboration is expected to be hinged on four points: building market demand for H2 commercial vehicles and industrial H2 applications, developing H2 infrastructure, addressing hydrogen in transportation and industry in policy, and specifically exploring use scenarios for Cummins’ electrolyzer and FC technologies in Chevron refineries.
The background to Cummins’ involvement in H2 is, among other things, the purchase of fuel cell manufacturer Hydrogenics GmbH in 2019. Through Hydrogenics, the American company also intends to operate a plant in the German city of Herten, which will initially focus on the assembly of fuel cell systems for Alstom hydrogen trains. In addition to production, research and development will also be located in Herten. In a further expansion stage, it should also be possible to refurbish existing fuel cell stacks.
“Working with Chevron (…) helps us continue to pursue our goal of enabling a carbon-neutral world,” Amy Davis, president of New Power at Cummins, commented now on the new partnership. “The energy transition is happening, and we recognize the critical role hydrogen will play in our energy mix. We have more than 2,000 fuel cells and 600 electrolysers deployed around the world and are exploring other hydrogen alternatives, including a hydrogen-powered internal combustion engine, to further accelerate and harness hydrogen’s powerful potential.”
In fact, Cummins has also begun testing a hydrogen-fueled internal combustion engine. After evaluating its feasibility (“proof of concept”), the company plans to test the engine in a variety of on- and off-highway applications. While classic H2 engines integrate a fuel cell and operate with zero emissions, a hydrogen engine is an internal combustion engine that runs on hydrogen fuel based on the oxyhydrogen reaction. While the system does not emit carbon-based pollutants, it does emit larger concentrations of nitrogen oxides.