Vision Industries and Asemblon to Create Nationwide H2 Trucking Infrastructure

Yesterday, I talked about an alternative hydrogen refueling infrastructure for cars and today I would like to talk about a “standard” hydrogen refueling infrastructure for long-haul trucks.

A couple of weeks ago I went to the NHA Conference and took a look at the Vision Tyrano hydrogen fuel cell hybrid class-8 truck firsthand. The idea at that point for Vision was to introduce a zero emissions heavy duty vehicle into the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, Ca in order to help clean up emissions.

Over a year ago I talked about Asemblon’s plans to introduce Hydrnol, a hydrogen rich liquid chemical carrier that can be used to produce pure hydrogen and that is easily transported and recycled. Now, I’ve learned that the two companies have teamed up in order to establish a nationwide hydrogen refueling infrastructure for trucks. In fact, Vision Industries has signed an agreement in an exclusive licensing agreement to sell Hydrnol to the trucking industry from coast to coast.

Vision and Asemblon don’t see the rollout of a nationwide hydrogen trucking infrastructure anywhere as daunting as one aimed a passenger cars. According to Vision, “While that may be the case for an infrastructure rollout for fuel cell passenger vehicles, Vision looks at the big rig market from a different perspective. In 2006, the U.S. consumed 180.2 billion gallons of transportation fuels, of which 23.8 billion gallons (or 13.2-percent) were diesel consumed by combination highway trucks. There are approximately 1,200 diesel truck stops in the U.S., with Pilot Travel Center and Flying J established as the two largest truck stop chains, each utilizing approximately 300 stations to cover the U.S. from coast-to-coast and border-to-border.

“Since Hydrnol is an easy-to-handle liquid, an infrastructure roll-out utilizing existing fueling equipment is very straightforward. Installing Hydrnol storage and dispensing infrastructure at an existing truck stop is estimated at $200,000 to $300,000 per station. Therefore, a 300 station, nationwide Hydrnol infrastructure rollout, accessing 13.2-percent of the U.S. transportation fuel marketplace can be completed for less than $100 million.”

The pairing of these two partners may not be perfect but it’s pretty close. Vision Industries needs a hydrogen solution for propelling long haul trucks 650 miles at highway speeds before refueling and Hydrnol provides this. Asemblon needs a commitment from a major hydrogen vehicle maker in order to manufacture, distribute and recycle its product and Vision Industries provides this.

Like I’ve stated before, the national hydrogen car infrastructure may be the last domino to fall. Before it does, hydrogen powered forklifts, trucks, boats, planes, UAVs, trains, motorcycles and other vehicles may already have been commercialized and provided adequate H2 refueling infrastructure. A nationwide hydrogen truck refueling infrastructure and the reduced emissions and reduced dependence upon fossil fuels that it would provide will certainly be a giant leap for mankind in the right direction.

5 Responses to “Vision Industries and Asemblon to Create Nationwide H2 Trucking Infrastructure”

  1. Hydrnol has the potential to make compressed hydrogen for vehicles obsolete. Hydrogen can be produced in commercial quantities at centralized locations, attached to Hydrnol and then transported to dispensing stations using the same infrastructure as diesel and gasoline are moved today. At 10 cents on the dollar versus compressed hydrogen, this is a no brainer.

  2. Not so fast. It takes 50 gallons of hydrnol to carry 300 miles worth of hydrogen last time I checked. The initial thrust will be hydrogen boosting as I doubt very much that carrying 100 gallons of hydrnol on a truck via a dual bladder tank system will be popular. If more than 600 miles is required, that could translate to 200 or 300 gallons of hydrnol. The amount of hydrnol needed by a single truck could be prohibitive at this point in time.

    If hydrnol’s energy density doubles or triples, then it may be a no brainer to carry hydrogen this way. How are fossil fuels involved with respect to hydrnol and does recycling make sense? I’m concerned about how much energy will be required to produce hydrogen and then use it to recharge hydrnol.

    I am more impressed with Plasma Kinetics laser hydride technology that resembles compact disc player technology. Think 400 pounds lighter than
    a comparable 10k PSI h2 tank system with the same storage capacity. This technology should scale nicely for trucks which have more room for fuel
    storage than cars.

    I think the Vision Assemblon partnership should talk to Greg Blencoe of hydrogen discoveries about running hydrogen gas or hydrnol pipelines
    to the truck stops.

    How much range is needed for a long haul truck and how much liquid fuel in the form of Diesel do typical trucks carry? Cut this in half and you can easily carry that much hydrnol. Divide that amount of hydrnol by 50 and multiply the quotient by 300, you’ll get a rough estimate of the range. Let’s guess that a truck can carry 600 gallons of diesel fuel. That is 300 gallons of hydrnol then or 6*300 or 1800 miles per fill. Granted, trucks are probably not as efficient as cars because they are heavier so you have to scale 1800 down by some
    factor. A safe conservative estimate is that a truck will go 1000 miles on 300 gallons of hydrnol.

    Googling around I’ve got some bad news. The typical semi truck probably only carries 140-170 gallons of diesel. Granted, there may be room in the engine compartment for another 70 gallons of fuel when the engine is replaced with a fuel cell. So it is necessary to at least double the tank capacity to get a decent range using hydrnol. The law of diminishing returns says that adding weight reduces fuel economy which effectively reduces the range increase possible from the additional fuel. A more energy dense form of hydrnol is needed, not more tanks.

    Say that 80-100 trucks go through a truck stop each day. If each truck needs 300 gallons of hydrnol, that translates to roughly 300,000 gallons of the stuff.
    I’m not so sure that 100 trucks a day is a good estimate for a truck stop though.

    Getting hydrnol to the stations so long as the energy density compared to diesel is fairly low is going to require pipelines.

  3. A typical long haul highway truck carries dual 150 gallon tanks of diesel. One on each side. Replacing just the existing diesel tanks with 300 gallons of Hydrnol is the proposed solution.The Plasma Kinetics technology looks interesting but it will be many years before it is commercially available. Hydrnol exists today and is expected to be commercially available within the next 2 years.

  4. So let me get this right Michael.

    You would wager 50000 metal hydride DVD’s, weighing 1925 lbs and taking up a volume of 36 cubic feet (not including the high tech laser Wurlitzer than would need to deliver ~1 DVD/second to achieve the necessary mass delivery of hydrogen) to power a class-8 semi over 1000 miles, AGAINST 320 gallons of what we’re told is recyclable liquid (assuming 13.6 % w/w gravimetric hydrogen at ~80% delivery) using an anticipated reactor system of 20 lbs and 1 cubic foot in size (excluding the HYDRNOL tanks)?

    Hey, I’m not saying either are ready to roll out tomorrow, but I’ll take your bet of which is more likely to make it to the finish line.

  5. Great site. A lot of useful information here. I’m sending it to some friends!

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