Cummins: Seizing the hydrogen opportunity

Cummins: Seizing the hydrogen opportunity

“We believe there’s an incredible opportunity for Cummins to continue to build a strong business in hydrogen production and fuel cell technology, contributing to lowering emissions and protecting our planet.”

Those were the words of Tom Linebarger, Chair and CEO Cummins when he today (16th Nov) opened the company’s virtual Hydrogen Day. Headquartered in Indiana, Cummins is a global technology leader that designs, manufacturers, distributes and services a broad portfolio of power solutions.

“In 2019, we generated $2.3bn in profits, on sales of $23.6bn. Cummins is ready to drive the changes and solutions that will power a more prosperous world, today and tomorrow,” he told the 1.8k live viewers.

“There are many reasons why we believe that hydrogen will play a central role in decarbonising the global economy,” he said. “For one, hydrogen is the most abundant element on earth, it’s light, its storable, its reactive and high energy per unit mass. Hydrogen is versatile. It can be transported as a liquid or as a gas, converted into electricity to power homes, transformed into methane for feedstock, or used as fuel for transportation.”

“It offers ways to decarbonise energy intensive industries, like long-haul transportation, shipping and industrial processes. Hydrogen enables renewable energy, it can balance a variable supply and demand of solar, wind and hydropower, and it can carry renewable energy long distances, to power different region.”

“Hydrogen is green, it can be used and produced without direct emissions of air pollutants or greenhouse gases – this point is key. Without hydrogen being green, it cannot be a meaningful part of the solution as we move towards carbon neutrality.”

After outlining the importance of the zero emission fuel, Linebarger then went on to discuss blue, green and grey hydrogen, stating that the vast majority of hydrogen being produced is grey. Within his presentation he told the audience that in order to transition to a greener society, that will need to change, and the production of green hydrogen would need to drastically increase.

“To replace the grey hydrogen used today with green hydrogen, the world would need roughly 3.2-terrawatt hours of renewable power, resulting in over 350,000-megawatts of electrolyser buildout.”

“Just to put that in context, that would be worth $350bn at today’s electrolyser prices,” Linebarger continued. “This is before we look at the impact of other industrial processes, such as steel production and transportation industries on hydrogen demand.”

Speaking about the hydrogen transition, Linebarger told the audience that he first expects green hydrogen to replace grey hydrogen, as green hydrogen costs decrease and technology improves. According to Linebarger, one of the industries to benefit from this would be the steel industry.

“The cost of green hydrogen will decline as the scale develops. This will help enable the transition to fuel cells, given a lower cost and increased availability of hydrogen. This shift will require investment from the private sector and support from the public sector, both of which we are starting to see.”

Speaking about the technological advancement, Linebarger went on to discuss important investments made by Cummins as well as the increased supports from Government that have more recently been recognised by the industry. Germany, China and Korea were all given as examples of who are leading the way with policies and governmental support.

The coverage of Cummins Hydrogen Day continues tomorrow, with a look into the company’s technologies and ongoing projects.

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