Hyzon Motors, a leading supplier of heavy-duty hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric vehicles, announced a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Transform Materials, a provider of renewable hydrogen through its proprietary microwave reactor technology (earlier post). Together, Hyzon and Transform Materials will evaluate proposals to develop facilities to produce low-to-negative carbon intensity hydrogen from various forms of methane, prioritizing biogas and renewable natural gas.
Transform Materials breaks down methane and other similar light hydrocarbon gases without oxygen, recombining the resulting fragments into two high-value end products, acetylene and hydrogen. The patented microwave plasma reactor system generates these products from methane efficiently at very high rates of conversion and selectivity.
Through Transform Material’s proprietary technology, the envisioned facilities (acting as hubs) can be built to produce hydrogen efficiently even at small scales of 1-5 tons/day, offering modular construction that allows capacity to grow as customer demand increases. The production of hydrogen as a co-product with acetylene provides significantly advantaged hydrogen cost structures.
Hyzon believes the key to decarbonizing transport in the near-term requires overcoming the hydrogen infrastructure challenges. Our solution is to co-invest in facilities that produce low-cost hydrogen at small volumes, and which can be built in a matter of months. By coordinating these facilities with existing and developing customer interest, we can accelerate the deployment of our zero-emissions, hydrogen-powered vehicles.—Parker Meeks, Hyzon’s Chief Strategy Officer
Additionally, Transform’s technology can generate carbon solids such as acetylene black or graphene, providing for useful carbon capture while yielding significantly negative carbon-intensity products, particularly when utilizing biogas as the feedstock. Hyzon will evaluate opportunities to utilize the carbon solids Transform produces in Hyzon truck materials, such as battery and carbon fiber production, offering further circular economy opportunities in Hyzon’s operations.
Pursuant to the MoU, Hyzon and Transform will seek to align hydrogen production with the accelerating demand created by Hyzon’s heavy-duty vehicles. Hubs would be located and sized to fulfill existing and potential customer needs, leading to high utilization by Hyzon’s back-to-base vehicle deployments. Transform Materials’ clean plasma technology can convert methane into hydrogen and acetylene without the CO2 emissions that result from traditional processes for generating hydrogen and acetylene. Utilizing this flexible, readily available feedstock without emitting CO2 results in low-to-negative carbon intensity hydrogen for powering Hyzon’s zero-emissions vehicles.
Transform Materials offers a sustainable alternative for utilizing traditional hydrocarbon feedstocks such as natural gas and biogas. Transform’s innovative technology avoids combustion entirely by turning these abundant resources into hydrogen, a carbon-free fuel, and into useful building-blocks for important industrial chemicals. Working with Hyzon, we can de-carbonize two major industries at once: the transportation industry with our clean hydrogen, and the chemical manufacturing industry with our clean acetylene.—David Soane, Transform Materials’ founder and CEO
Under the MoU, the companies plan to explore sites in the US, Canada, Europe and potentially China for facilities that would incorporate the Transform technology, with initial evaluations expected to begin early this year. Transform Materials will build, own, and operate the hubs, with Hyzon having the right to invest equity in the facilities. Feedstock and dispensing will be provided through third parties.