LOHC Powertrains to Decarbonize Long-Haul Trucks

Decarbonization of long-haul trucks, which are the backbone of global supply chains, is necessary to meet climate goals. Currently, battery electric and conventional hydrogen powertrains are not cost-competitive solutions against diesel. Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carrier (LOHC) is a promising fuel option that benefits from synergies with existing retail fuel distribution infrastructure, providing a cost-effective way to transport hydrogen energy. LOHCs are now used to deliver hydrogen gas to refueling stations where it is then compressed and used to fuel trucks (left image). However, this approach incurs ∼ 50% energy loss from the endothermic dehydrogenation and compression of hydrogen. We propose an alternative concept based on onboard hydrogen release to address these pain points (right image). On-board release benefits from heat integration, wherein the hot exhaust from the hydrogen combustion engine is used to partially power the endothermic dehydrogenation. Additionally, we completely eliminate the need for compression as LOHCs have volumetric energy densities sufficient for the necessary daily driving range of 600 miles. Initial analysis shows the LOHC option charged with blue hydrogen achieves rough cost parity with diesel. The estimated well-to-well emissions for this option are approximately one-third of the diesel. Based on our analysis, LOHC-powered trucks featuring onboard dehydrogenation are a promising option to decarbonize long-haul trucking.


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