ABB and Hydrogen Optimized expand partnership for industrial-scale green technology

What are the potential benefits of this partnership for Australia's domestic landscape? How does this investment by ABB position Hydrogen Optimized?

ABB has signed an agreement to expand its existing relationship with Canadian innovator Hydrogen Optimized™ Inc. (HOI), including an investment into key technologies that will facilitate the development of large-scale hydrogen infrastructure. Ivar Smits, Sales Manager for High Power Rectifier Systems – Process Industries, shares the potential benefits of this partnership for Australia.

Leveraging respective capabilities through this strategic collaboration, ABB and HOI will aim to accelerate and expand the deployment of hydrogen for industry. The partnership will focus on decarbonising critical operations, through the implementation of hydrogen infrastructure for energy, metals, cement, utilities, ammonia, fertilizers and fuels for aircraft, ships, trucks, and rail.

Having succeeded through a rigorous validation process, HOI’s RuggedCell™ technology is at the cusp of rapid commercialisation. Designed to support large plants, it applies electrical energy from renewable power sources (including solar, hydro and wind), splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen.

This conversion process is supported by ABB’s High Powered Rectifiers, designed with centralised gigawatt industrial production in mind. The result of over 50 years’ experience with static and dynamic power compensation equipment, these rectifiers ensure reliable DC power supply for substantial water electrolysing applications.

In Australia, there are a number of organisations developing large hydrogen plants. It is likely that we will see these come to fruition within the next five years, but the focus currently lies in demand generation to fund this development.

Hydrogen Optimized is equipped to upscale the existing technology, and ABB’s solution is highly modular and easily replicable, allowing modest investments to be upgraded over time as demand increases.

The focus going forward will be on standardisation, and this partnership will bolster reproducibility at a lower cost. Additionally, ABB’s investments into the project will contribute to the automated manufacturing process and robotics, accelerating the rollout for gigawatt supportive product.

There are several potentially lucrative markets in Australia’s domestic landscape, where hydrogen technology will undoubtedly play a role over the coming years. This investment by ABB positions Hydrogen Optimized as a category leader within the space.

Mining and resources

The mining industry stands to be one of the greatest beneficiaries of hydrogen manufacturing in Australia. In addition, the chemicals, oil and gas sectors are already heavily invested in moving towards greener solutions, as consumer priorities shift away from coal fired power as a long-term solution.

Interest is also growing around materials such as steel, which is carbon intensive to produce and used for widespread applications like car manufacturing and construction. Due to Australia’s abundant renewable potential, there is a movement towards using hydrogen in replacement of coal or natural gas to generate ‘green steel.’

Export and transport

Freight and shipping contribute heavily to global pollution and emissions, and there is significant potential for the decarbonisation of these operations. Many companies are already looking at ammonia – a derivative of hydrogen – as an alternative to heavy oil for fuelling container ships. Hydrogen powered assets such as this may also tie into the Australian mining industry, which exports large amounts of material like iron ore every year.

Furthermore, public transport such as buses stand to benefit from more accessible hydrogen power. While LP gas and electric vehicles are a step in the right direction, a hydrogen fuelled engine expels only water and does not rely on charging stations, rendering it an ideal target for future investment.

Strengthening the grid for industry growth

Another key focus in Australia is the impact of hydrogen on power generation and other vital industries. Such operations have always relied on coal fired power stations to draw large amounts of energy, but this will not be sustainable moving forward – financially or environmentally.

What’s more, the national power grid is struggling to accommodate for population growth. With the capacity to develop larger-scale hydrogen plants, it will have means to expand and fortify, allowing for expansion of other key sectors. There is also building interest in the export potential of hydrogen to countries in Europe and Asia.

While the hydrogen industry has seen rapid growth within a relatively short period of time, Hydrogen Optimized leverages a century of electrolysis innovation and experience. This positions them at the forefront of a potentially high-growth segment for ABB’s portfolio, in our mission towards bridging the gap between electricity and chemical energy carriers.

Read the group press release from 25 August 2022 here announcing the expansion of the partnership.

ABB Technology Ventures (ATV) is the venture capital unit of ABB (NYSE: ABB). ATV looks for breakthrough technology companies aligned with ABB’s goal to write the future of industrial digitalization. Since its formation in 2009, ATV has deployed around $250 million into startups spanning a range of sectors including robotics, industrial IoT, AI/machine learning, energy transition, cybersecurity, electric mobility, smart buildings and distributed energy. For more information, visit www.abb.com/ventures.

Hydrogen Optimized Inc. is a private hydrogen technology company that develops and commercializes large-scale green hydrogen production systems. It is part of Key DH Technologies Inc. Hydrogen Optimized enables the conversion of green electricity into green hydrogen and the transformation of heavy fossil fuel-use industries into sustainability leaders. Our patented high-power RuggedCell™ water electrolysis system integrates a scalable design that is free of iridium and other expensive platinum group metals, and enables low-cost mass manufacturing. It can be deployed for use in green hydrogen plants in the hundreds of megawatts to multi-gigawatt scale. The solution is targeted to major industrial, chemical, utility and energy end users. For more information on Hydrogen Optimized, please visit www.hydrogenoptimized.com.

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