Anglo American, Umicore to develop ‘groundbreaking’ PMG-based technology to transform hydrogen storage for FCEVs

Anglo American Platinum and Umicore have joined forces to develop ‘groundbreaking’ technology which is set to transform the way hydrogen can be stored and used to power fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) to avoid the need for extensive refuelling networks.

Unveiling the partnership today (26th April), the duo said they aim to take the process through which hydrogen is chemically bonded to a liquid (known as a liquid organic hydrogen carrier or LOHC) a step further, targeting new PGMs-based catalyst technologies that can be installed directly in FCEVs and other forms of transport.

Using a LOHC allows for hydrogen to be handled and transported in a similar way to oil or gasoline, using conventional liquid transport networks such as tankers and pipelines rather than meeting the more complex requirements of compressed gas. By doing this, Anglo American and Umicore hope to eliminate the need for new and dedicated hydrogen infrastructure.

Dubbed the dehydrogenation step, the developed technology would take place directly in the vehicle at lower temperatures and pressures, providing a simpler and cheaper alternative to onboard storage of compressed hydrogen.

“LOHC technology provides an attractive pathway to emission-free and cost-effective hydrogen-fuelled transport,” said Benny Oeyen, Anglo American’s Executive Head of PGMs Market Development.

“Anglo American believes that the particular catalytic properties of PGMs can further enhance the process by streamlining the logistics, and offer a far simpler experience for consumers – combined with a similarly quick refuelling time and range as conventional petrol or diesel vehicles – while also reducing costs across the entire value chain.”

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