Can a new ammunition for trucks that is clean, powerful, and accessible to aftermath from bounded decay residues additionally get added zero-emission hydrogen cartage on the road?
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At Oberon Fuels, we are active alive with a all-around affiliation to accompany a new fuel, dimethyl ether (DME), to the trucking and abundant accessories industry. DME is not a domiciliary name, but it is accepted amidst those in able agent applications because it is the best advantage to alter agent amidst ascent appeal for a added acceptable busline infrastructure:
· DME burns abundantly and agilely and can abate carbon dioxide discharge by 68–101%, depending on which renewable feedstock is used.
· DME is a distinct atom ammunition with no impurities. It is sulfur-free and burns with no chapped matter, authoritative it easier to ascendancy nitrogen oxides (NOx) pollution.
· It is additionally one of the few barter fuels that can absolutely be produced locally. Urban debris streams, dairy manure, and added amoebic decay streams can be repurposed to accomplish DME ammunition for fleets of trucks and added vehicles.
· DME additionally meets boxy achievement requirements, a charge for trucking and added able applications that charge the adeptness and torque of compression-ignition engines.
· DME cartage are beneath big-ticket to run over their lifetime accustomed operational costs and lower weights; and DME basement is accessible to body and expand.
At Oberon, we anticipate a approaching area locally-produced barter ammunition is affective goods, accouterment jobs, charwoman the air, and authoritative acceptable use of decay streams that would contrarily accord to altitude change, baptize pollution, or added ecology problems.
Over the accomplished eight years, we accept partnered with Volvo Trucks, Mack Trucks, Ford, and a host of added manufacturers to body DME engines, analysis affirmation vehicles, get standards approved, and architecture basement that can accomplish DME a acute basic of all-around carriage networks.
The aboriginal beachcomber of affirmation cartage has anesthetized with aerial colors, and all-embracing rollouts are on the horizon.
And yet this eyes does not tap the abounding abeyant of DME. In fact, this atom may accept an invaluable added act as a booster to the arising hydrogen ammunition infrastructure.
DME is an ideal carrier for hydrogen fuel
DME is close in hydrogen. One DME atom has six hydrogen atoms. DME’s abridgement of carbon-carbon bonds makes reforming DME into authentic hydrogen a simple, bargain action that can action at lower temperatures.
DME’s aqueous accompaniment beneath balmy burden would additionally advice hydrogen ammunition affected one of its best awkward problems: transport. Hydrogen is awfully difficult to compress, acute pressures of up to 10,000 pounds per aboveboard inch, a alarming akin that requires big-ticket equipment. DME on the added hand, can be confused in adapted propane trailers at pressures about 73 pounds per aboveboard inch.
These qualities accord DME a altered dual-use abeyant with the rollout of DME trucks acceptable an ideal way to advance hydrogen basement as well. It could appear a cardinal of means with DME actuality acclimated to accomplish hydrogen at fueling stations, on lath vehicles, or alike by powering a ammunition corpuscle directly.
The alleyway to safe, affordable hydrogen infrastructure.
DME could be acclimated as a hydrogen carrier about immediately. Oberon is already bearing DME as a fuel, and hydrogen cars are on the alley in baddest markets. A simple accessories advancement would accord any of today’s hydrogen fueling stations the adeptness to about-face DME into absolutely renewable hydrogen.
Even added auspicious is that the basement for both DME and hydrogen can be bound broadcast after bulky bazaar disruptions or abrupt basic costs. In fact, DME and hydrogen basement can assignment calm as they grow.
DME is already demography the aboriginal accomplish to alter a allocation of the agent acclimated in trucking. All of the pathways that are giving DME engines and ammunition assembly a ballast can additionally advance to a added able-bodied arrangement of hydrogen ammunition infrastructure.
For example, bi-fuel cartage that can use up to 20% DME to displace agent (these are alleged bifold ammunition cartage in Europe) may be one of the easiest means for a agile to activate application locally produced DME, back bargain aftermarket add-ons acquiesce absolute diesels to acclimate to application both fuels.
Conversions that can additionally be done on acreage equipment, architecture equipment, and added engines could add alike added befalling for DME assembly facilities.
Bi-fuel prototypes are already ability testing, and all-embracing demonstrations could be apparent as aboriginal as abutting year.
Another alleyway for DME is active in alongside to bi-fuel systems. Cartage that run on 100% DME abide to be activated and added agent deployment is advancing in 2019. These committed DME cartage accept already been auspiciously demonstrated, and assorted agent manufacturers accept programs underway to absolute the technology further.
A agile of new DME trucks would be a big allurement for added DME assembly and fueling infrastructure, yet the acceptance of 100% DME doesn’t await absolutely on new OEM vehicles. Companies are additionally alive on about-face kits that could adapt absolute fleets to about-face absolutely to DME as bounded ammunition food become dependable.
A third alleyway for accretion DME basement can be begin in hybrid-electric vehicles. Range addendum with DME is ideal, back the gas is efficient, failing and clean. The affinity of DME engines and diesels beggarly that diesel-electric hybrids can calmly accord way to DME-electric hybrids, accouterment yet addition advance for bounded DME fueling stations and assembly facilities.
A fourth alleyway is area DME begins to comedy its double-duty role as a carrier for hydrogen fuel. This could disentangle in a array of ways.
Converting DME to hydrogen at the station
Non-toxic, easy-to-handle DME would be alien to fueling stations for about-face into hydrogen fuel, application simple reforming equipment. Absolute hydrogen dispensers, accumulator tanks and ammunition corpuscle cartage would still be used.
No pipelines would be needed, which would cut bottomward on methane leaks in transit, accelerate activity development, and aftereffect in locally-produced, absolutely blooming hydrogen fuel. Renewable methane molecules from bounded decay streams would be adapted to DME and again hydrogen. It is not an accounting bold of injecting in the activity and affairs out “bio”methane at a altered area to accomplish “renewable” hydrogen.
Converting to DME on lath the vehicle
A added advantage would be to catechumen DME to hydrogen on lath the vehicle. DME fueling accessories is basically adapted propane fueling equipment, and so basement amplification would still be almost simple and low cost.
DME-powered fuels corpuscle may one day attempt with hydrogen
Finally, and conceivably best advanced, would be to use DME anon in a ammunition cell. A DME ammunition corpuscle could accommodate the drivetrain power, absence the charge for about-face to hydrogen entirely. This is an avant-garde advantage that may not appear until a ample cardinal of hydrogen powered ammunition beef are on the road, but if DME is already acclimated in hydrogen carriage these cartage would acquisition a abundant easier aisle to market.
Magnifying investments already made
The best able aspect of developing DME and hydrogen fuels calm is that they can both advantage the investments we accept already fabricated to apple-pie up busline the apple over.
Engine articles are already active authoritative abundant trucks that run on DME, and European coalitions are basic to body the authoritative frameworks that can put DME trucks on the road. DME is already acknowledged to use as a ammunition beyond the United States. Oberon’s biogas-based DME qualifies for EPA Renewable Identification Cardinal (RIN) credits.
International standards accept additionally accustomed DME as a accepted agent fuel. In 2014, ASTM International developed abstruse blueprint for fuel-grade DME that accommodate advice for ammunition producers, agent suppliers, and basement developers. In 2015, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) additionally defined DME characteristics for use as fuel.
In California, huge investments accept been fabricated to advice a new bearing of another fuels, including ammunition corpuscle vehicles. This year, the accompaniment angled its architecture ambition for hydrogen stations, ambience new targets of 200 stations by 2030 and 5 actor zero-emissions cartage in the aforementioned timeframe. Yet with all the amount and hurdles appropriate to body an absolutely new fueling infrastructure, alike the best agog supporters apperceive added needs to be done to abutment absolutely renewable hydrogen.
If DME ammunition were to be formed out alongside hydrogen infrastructure, the two fuels could acquisition a synergy that catapults busline basement faster, and further, than has ahead been imagined.
An advance in a DME base or assembly ability would additionally be an advance in renewable hydrogen. DME assembly on a dairy acreage or landfill would abate methane emissions and ammunition abundant assignment barter alongside ammunition corpuscle vehicles. The assimilation of ammunition corpuscle cartage into the bazaar would additionally expend the DME ammunition network, giving barter fleets the ammunition they charge to booty the heaviest loads. Technology improvements on a DME-powered agent would avalanche into allowances for those active on hydrogen.
This befalling ability be absent if action makers and agent developers do not adjust their strategies soon. DME engines are in development now, and hydrogen cartage are blame into the market, but there is no allocation amid these two accustomed allies.
With the near-term befalling for DME terminal architecture accumbent with the absolute pathways for aught emissions vehicles, the time is now for cardinal DME-hydrogen partnerships. They could alleviate the long-sought dream of a adapted busline sector; one that thrives on absolutely apple-pie vehicles, recycled decay streams, and locally produced fuels.
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