Vopak Launches JV to Transport Hydrogen Using Current Infrastructure

hydrogen transport with current infrastructure
In the JV, Vopak envisions being able to use current infrastructure such as its terminal at Vlissingen in the Netherlands (Vopak)

Published Jan 4, 2023 4:09 PM by The Maritime Executive

Royal Vopak, an independent tank storage company, and a developmental hydrogen company called Hydrogenious LOHC Technologies are launching a joint venture which they believe can accelerate the adoption of hydrogen through a carrier technology that permits the use of current infrastructure. Hydrogenious’ technology combines hydrogen with an inert carrier that makes it possible to transport hydrogen using the same infrastructure deployed today for fossil fuels.

“Worldwide there exists a huge capacity of storage tanks, sea vessels, inland tankers, and tank trucks for the storage and transportation of liquid fossil fuels. Hydrogenious wants to turn all this valuable infrastructure into the hydrogen infrastructure of the future using our LOHC technology,” said Dr. Daniel Teichmann, founder and CEO at Hydrogenious LOHC Technologies. “With the build-up of LOHC plants in Chempark Dormagen (Germany) and Rotterdam, we will establish a green hydrogen supply chain that we see as a blueprint for a future even more comprehensive network across Europe and the Middle East and beyond.”

Hydrogenious’ uses Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carrier (LOHC) technology with benzyl toluene as a carrier medium for hydrogen. Due to its characteristics as a flame retardant and non-explosive carrier with a high volumetric energy density, the company points out that benzyl toluene can be handled like a fossil liquid fuel within existing infrastructure, tankers, and vehicles at ambient pressure and temperature. The oil and hydrogen are combined for transport which the partnership points out could employ current port infrastructure as well as existing vessels, railcars, and tank trucks. After the transport, the hydrogen is released from the carrier in a dehydrogenation process and the LOHC can be reused to bind hydrogen many hundreds of times.

The technology has already been used successfully in several pilot projects including in Finland, Germany, and the United States. In addition, it is being used at a first-of-its-kind hydrogen filling station network including a station that opened in Erlangen, Germany in July 2022. H2 MOBILITY Deutschland, together with its shareholder Linde and partners Hydrogenious LOHC Technologies and SiemensEnergy, launched operations as a demonstration of the hydrogen supply chain. It is part of a network of hydrogen stations with the fuel being used to power fuel-cell electric vehicles.

The new partnership with Vopak believes the technology will allow for superior, flexible hydrogen supply to consumers in industry and mobility across the globe, utilizing conventional liquid-fuel infrastructure. They aim to supply green hydrogen to off-takers using LOHC-based transportation with ships, trains, and tanker trucks. 

Hydrogenious was founded in 2013 and Royal Vopak has been an investor since 2019. In addition to the formation of the new company known as LOHC Logistix, they announced plans to accelerate the establishment of a LOHC storage plant planned at Chempark Dormagen (Germany/North-Rhine Westphalia), as well as a release plant in Rotterdam. The release plant will have a capacity of 1.5 tonnes of hydrogen per day. 

Both parties intend to accelerate the scale-up of their operations as part of an effort to support the establishment of a clean hydrogen infrastructure to meet the world’s energy demands.