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Daimler Truck and Linde Set New Standard in Liquid Hydrogen Refueling with sLH2 Technology

Daimler Trucks

Daimler Truck and Linde Engineering, two prominent industrial firms, have achieved a significant milestone in hydrogen infrastructure

Daimler Truck and Linde Engineering, two prominent industrial firms, have achieved a significant milestone in hydrogen infrastructure advancement toward transportation decarbonization. Collaborative efforts between engineers from both companies have led to the development of sLH2 technology, a novel approach to liquid hydrogen handling. This innovative solution offers enhanced storage density, extended range, quicker refueling, reduced costs, and improved energy efficiency compared to gaseous hydrogen. Refueling an 80-kilogram liquid hydrogen capacity for a 40-ton heavy-duty truck takes approximately 10-15 minutes, providing a range of over 1,000 kilometers. Moreover, the new sLH2 technology substantially reduces hydrogen filling station investment requirements by two to three times, with operating costs reduced by around five to six times. Presently, liquid hydrogen delivery is reliably available across Europe.

Compared to traditional liquid hydrogen (LH2) refueling technology, the new process uses a new sLH2 pump to slightly increase the pressure of liquid hydrogen. This method turns the hydrogen into subcooled liquid hydrogen (sLH2). In this state, a very robust and stable refueling process results, which reduces energy losses during refueling to a minimum. In addition, no data transmission is necessary between the gas station and the vehicle, which further reduces the complexity of the refueling process. At the same time, the refueling capacity is increased to a new level. The filling station has a capacity of 400 kg of liquid hydrogen per hour. Compared to conventional refueling with liquid or gaseous hydrogen, sLH2 is significantly simpler and at the same time offers higher performance.

With the aim of establishing a common refueling standard for hydrogen-powered trucks, the technology will be made available to all interested parties via an ISO standard. Andreas Gorbach, board member of Daimler Truck, and Jürgen Nowicki, CEO of Linde Engineering, opened the first public sLH2 pilot station in Wörth today by refueling a Mercedes-Benz GenH2 truck in the presence of Rhineland-Palatinate State Secretary for Economic Affairs Petra Dick-Walther and international press representatives on the Rhine. 

Andreas Gorbach, Member of the Board of Directors of Daimler Truck AG, responsible for Truck Technology:  To decarbonize transport, we need three factors: the right battery and hydrogen trucks, the necessary infrastructure and cost parity between zero-emission and diesel vehicles. When it comes to vehicles, the transformation is in full swing. Today we are reaching an important milestone in the hydrogen infrastructure: thanks to the sLH2 standard, refueling with hydrogen is as easy as with diesel – in around 10 to 15 minutes the tank is full for a range of over 1,000 km. We now call on other truck manufacturers and infrastructure companies to follow our approach and work together to make this technology the industry standard!”

Jürgen Nowicki, Executive Vice President Linde plc and CEO of Linde Engineering: “sLH2 significantly increases the efficiency of hydrogen refueling systems. The required investments are reduced by a factor of two to three and the operating costs are reduced by a factor of five to six. This and other advantages make sLH2 a practical, CO2-neutral alternative to diesel refueling in heavy goods traffic. The technology we developed together with Daimler Truck paves the way for the comprehensive refueling infrastructure that today’s logistics chains depend on.”

Linde Engineering’s sLH2 filling station sets the efficiency standard for liquid hydrogen

The new public sLH2 gas station in Wörth am Rhein sets standards in terms of energy efficiency and performance. With an energy consumption of just 0.05 kWh/kg, it requires around 30 times less energy compared to conventional refueling with gaseous hydrogen. The filling station also has a very small space requirement of just 50 square meters (without a petrol pump) and enables configurations in which several petrol pumps are possible for the parallel refueling of trucks as well as the refueling of several vehicles one after the other. The liquid hydrogen storage has a capacity of four tonnes, which is enough for around ten hours of continuous refueling. In addition, the capacity of the sLH2 filling station can be increased to over eight tons per day by refilling in the meantime.

Objective: Industry standard for refueling with liquid hydrogen

Daimler Truck and Linde Engineering want to make sLH2 the leading hydrogen refueling technology for heavy trucks. Therefore, both companies offer a high level of transparency and openness around the relevant interfaces of the jointly developed sLH2 technology. The technology has been standardized in an open ISO process and is freely accessible to all interested parties. Daimler Truck and Linde Engineering are now calling on other OEMs, infrastructure companies and associations to apply the new liquid hydrogen standard and thereby establish a global mass market for the process.

Safe, quick and easy refueling with hydrogen

Unlike traditional liquid hydrogen (LH2) refueling, the sLH2 process is similarly practical to today’s diesel refueling technology. The robust insulation of the refueling hose and the design of the interfaces between the nozzle and the fuel tank make the refueling process extremely safe and prevent hydrogen from escaping. Therefore, the protective measures required for refueling with sLH2 are comparable to those for diesel. During the refueling process, liquid hydrogen can be poured into two connected 40 kg tanks on either side of the truck chassis at minus 253 degrees Celsius without the need for special safety equipment. The sLH2 technology enables a high flow rate of more than 400 kg of hydrogen per hour, and the filling of 80 kg of liquid hydrogen can be completed in ten to fifteen minutes. Finally, the new process avoids the so-called boil-off effect: When refueling with liquid hydrogen, part of the hydrogen becomes gaseous and has to be laboriously extracted using a second line. With the sLH2 process, the hydrogen remains liquid during refueling, so only one nozzle is needed to fill the tanks. This makes handling easier and reduces investment costs. The new filling station in Wörth will be supplied with liquid hydrogen by Linde. Linde operates the largest hydrogen production and distribution infrastructure in the world.

Liquid hydrogen enables a range of 1,000 kilometers or more

When developing hydrogen-based drives, Daimler Truck prefers liquid hydrogen. In this aggregate state, the energy carrier has a significantly higher energy density in relation to volume than gaseous hydrogen. This makes the tanks of a fuel cell truck with liquid hydrogen more cost-effective compared to carbon tanks for gaseous hydrogen. And because of the lower pressure, they are also significantly lighter. The technology therefore enables a higher payload and at the same time more hydrogen can be transported, which significantly increases the range of the trucks. This makes the Mercedes-Benz GenH2 Truck, like conventional diesel trucks, suitable for flexible and demanding long-distance transport. In September 2023, Daimler Truck successfully demonstrated this when a public road-legal prototype of the Mercedes-Benz GenH2 Truck completed the #HydrogenRecordRun, traveling 1,047 km with 80 kilograms of liquid hydrogen on board. The company plans to introduce the series version of the fuel cell truck in the second half of the decade.

sLH2 is being used in initial customer trials

Five companies are expected to take advantage of the opportunity to gain initial experience in CO2-free long-distance transport with fuel cell vehicles from mid-2024. The semitrailer trucks are used in Germany on specific routes in various long-distance transport applications and are refueled at the now opened liquid hydrogen filling station (sLH2) in Wörth am Rhein and at a filling station in the Duisburg area. Daimler Truck and its partner companies are creating a flagship project and showing that decarbonized transport with hydrogen-powered trucks is already possible today. In order for the transformation towards freight transport with hydrogen drives to work sustainably, it will be important in the next few years to ensure a comprehensive and global refueling infrastructure and a sufficient supply of green liquid hydrogen.

SOURCE: Daimler

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