Tank storage company Vopak and German hydrogen company Hydrogenious are starting a joint venture in the storage, transport and supply of hydrogen via hydrogen carrier benzyl toluene. Through LOHC Logistix, the companies plan to build a storage plant in Germany as well as a release plant in the Netherlands.

The equal shared joint venture, named LOHC Logistix, will provide hydrogen storage, transport and supply based on Hydrogenious’ Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carrier (LOHC) technology. This is one of the major steps both companies have agreed on recently to push LOHC market solutions and large-scale pilot projects forward.

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Benzyl toluene as hydrogen carrier

Hydrogen is expected to play a dominant role in future energy systems. When it comes to handling the volatile hydrogen gas, the LOHC technology developed by Hydrogenious has a big potential to help speed up the development of an international hydrogen market.

The LOHC pioneer from Germany uses the thermal oil benzyl toluene as liquid organic hydrogen carrier (LOHC-BT), which is already well-established in the industry as a heat transfer medium. Moreover, it has ideal properties for safe handling in ports.

Use of existing infrastructure

Due to its characteristics as a flame retardant and non-explosive carrier with a high volumetric energy density, benzyl toluene can be handled like a fossil liquid fuel within existing infrastructure, tankers and vehicles at ambient pressure and temperature, making it a natural fit with current port infrastructure and fleet of vessels, railcars, and tank trucks.

‘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,’ says Dr Daniel Teichmann, founder and CEO at Hydrogenious LOHC Technologies.

After the release of hydrogen (dehydrogenation), the LOHC can be reused to bind hydrogen many hundreds of times.

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Two LOHC plants planned

The joint venture LOHC Logistix GmbH located in Germany will support both parties to facilitate their efforts to supply green hydrogen to off-takers, using LOHC based transportation via ship, train, tanker, etc. The incorporation of the joint venture is subject to customary closing conditions. For transportation and supply, it will purchase hydrogenation as well as dehydrogenation services from/at the respective LOHC plant operating companies and organise transport.

Moreover, the two partners committed themselves to accelerate the establishment of the LOHC storage plant planned at Chempark Dormagen (Germany/North-Rhine Westphalia), for which the kick-off has been given in 2021 (link), as well as a release plant in Rotterdam with a release capacity of 1.5 tonnes of hydrogen per day. The intention of both parties is to accelerate the scale up.

Vopak became involved as a strategic investor in Hydrogenious LOHC Technologies in 2019 (with a shareholding of around ten per cent).

Teichmann states: ‘Ever since Vopak’s investment in our company we have worked very closely together in developing and establishing clean hydrogen value chains. With the build-up of LOHC plants in Chempark Dormagen 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.’

First full LOHC supply chain already in operation

Hydrogenious LOHC Technologies has sold pilot-scale LOHC systems to partners in several countries like Finland, Germany and the US over the last years and has implemented the first full LOHC supply chain for hydrogen mobility this summer. Hydrogenious supplies the Hydrogen Refueling Station Erlangen in Germany via LOHC, which is a worldwide novelty.

Picture: LOHC Storage Plant Rendering (by Hydrogenious LOHC Technologies).

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