Technology: Inside a self-driving truck with Torc Robotics
Hexagon Composites signed an agreement on April 22, 2022, to acquire a 40% stake in Cryoshelter GmbH, an Austria based company specialized in the development of cryogenic tank technology for liquid natural (renewable) gas (LNG) and liquid hydrogen (LH2).
Renewable natural gas, in liquid or gaseous form, is the only readily available, cost competitive fuel with immediate potential to reduce heavy-duty trucking emissions, the company noted. As fleet owners seek alternative fuels to meet ever ambitious sustainability targets, RNG can play a key role in their efforts to decarbonize the commercial transportation sector.
In liquid form, natural (renewable) gas has a high energy density. Cryoshelter’s technology leverages this energy density by providing utilization of vehicle frame rail space. This results in a driving range that is comparable to diesel and a total cost of ownership that is significantly lower for the fleet owner, according to Hexagon.
The Hexagon Group provides compressed natural gas (CNG), including renewable natural gas (RNG), compressed hydrogen and battery-electric systems as part of its portfolio of clean fuel solutions. Liquid storage of natural (renewable) gas and hydrogen will add a new dimension to its existing offering, complementing its portfolio and unlocking new opportunities for Hexagon Agility and Hexagon Purus, respectively.
Together, Hexagon and Cryoshelter will industrialize Cryoshelter’s existing LNG technology and production capability, and use the LNG technology platform to further develop liquid hydrogen (LH2) solutions for heavy duty transport.
Further Develop and Scale Up
Hexagon Composites ASA will make an initial investment to acquire 40% of Cryoshelter’s liquid natural (renewable) gas (LNG) business, with options to buy remaining interests over the next three to 10 years. Hexagon Purus ASA (owned 73.3% by Hexagon Composites) will make an initial investment to acquire 40% of Cryoshelter’s liquid hydrogen (LH2) business, with options to buy remaining interests over the next five to 10 years. Together with Cryoshelter, Hexagon Purus will further develop the technology and business over the coming years.
The separation of Cryoshelter’s liquid natural (renewable) gas and liquid hydrogen businesses recognizes the different phases of market and product development. There is an established market for liquid natural gas mobility solutions and Cryoshelter’s technology is already at a pre-commercial stage, while the market and products for liquid hydrogen storage are in the early stage of development with longer timeframe to commercialization.
Closing of the Transaction is expected to take place by the third quarter of 2022, subject to fulfilment of certain closing conditions and customary regulatory approvals.
Decarbonization that requires compressed, cryogenic solutions
LNG has emerged as the leading natural gas alternative in Europe due to a significant infrastructure network, favorable cost position and preferred truck configuration, Hexagon noted. Over the last year, the number of new LNG truck registrations and filling stations have increased significantly, and higher growth is expected over the next decade as fleet operators are opting for readily available, cost competitive fuels with immediate emission saving potential such as RNG (biomethane).
Supported by European legislation, it is expected that renewable natural gas, alongside battery-electric and fuel cell-electric technologies will play a key role in the efforts to decarbonize the commercial transportation sector in Europe.