On-site hydrogen: what’s the big deal?


For years, one of the issues with hydrogen has been that it is manufactured at one facility – sometimes as a byproduct – then taken elsewhere.

But what if the hydrogen could be made on-site? It would cut down on costs and make the process simpler. On this episode of Purple Is the New Green, David Wolff, Nel Hydrogen’s Region Manager for the Eastern U.S. and Canada, said that scenario already is a reality.

“We have 18 Nel hydrogen generators deployed that were sold to a Ford engine assembly plant in Canada. This is at a massive Ford engine building plant,” he said. “These 18 hydrogen generators are serving to supply hydrogen for plasma spray of a cast iron-like lining on the inner cylinder bore of aluminum engine blocks.”

Those engines go in the Ford EcoBoost engine used in the F-150, North America’s best-selling vehicle family. “We’re very proud of that use of our hydrogen generators,” Wolff said.

It’s a great example of creating the hydrogen on-site when needed rather than having to deal with the drawbacks that can come with transportation. Yet, Wolff said too few people understand that having on-site hydrogen is an option.

“One of the challenges for … Nel over the years in the industrial world has been making people aware that on-site hydrogen was an alternative,” he said, comparing it to people getting milk delivered by a milkman. “You had to make people aware there were other ways to get your milk.

“In this case, it’s even better, because you can get your hydrogen and you can make it yourself.”

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