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Nel enters in exclusive partnership with Nikola Motor Company

Norway-headed hydrogen value chain solution provider Nel ASA (Nel) has announced that it has entered into an exclusive partnership with US-based Nikola Motor Company, a privately held specialist designer and manufacturer of electric vehicles (EV), vehicle components, energy storage systems, and electric vehicle drivetrains. Furthermore that Nel has received a purchase order from Nikola Motor for two demo refuelling stations to provide hydrogen to Nikola’s fleet of prototype hydrogen trucks.

On December 1, 2016, Nikola Motor Company unveiled its highly anticipated Nikola One hydrogen electric semi-truck at an invite-only event in its Salt Lake City, Utah headquarters (photo courtesy Nikola Motor Company).

According to a recent statement, the purchase order is the initial part of an exclusive partnership aiming at developing low-cost renewable hydrogen production and fueling sites for the potential development of 16 large-scale sites with a capacity up to 32 tons of hydrogen per day. The initial purchase order has a value of US$3.6 million and delivery of the demo stations is intended to start in the second half of 2018.

We are very excited to announce our partnership with Nikola for a joint endeavour to develop mega-scale hydrogen fueling stations based on our new cluster design, which leverages Nel’s highly scalable electrolyzers in order to reduce the cost of hydrogen and achieve price parity with fossil fuels. Our initial two demo stations will each provide one ton of hydrogen to Nikola Motor’s prototype trucks and serve as design verification for Nel’s mega-scale concept. This solution will be jointly developed and scaled into the world’s most efficient network of low-cost hydrogen production and fueling sites, said Jon André Løkke, CEO of Nel.

Hydrogen mega-station network

Nikola Motor has entered into an agreement with Nel to work exclusively on all hydrogen stations involving electrolysis. The initial part of the partnership includes building two demo-stations for hydrogen fueling, which will serve the Nikola test fleet that will begin rolling out next year. For the following mega-stations, Nel will incorporate its clustering concept, where eight Nel A-485 electrolysers are integrated into one unit, to achieve lower CapEx levels.

We are building the world’s largest hydrogen network. Nel’s electrolyzers are well proven, and known in the industry for being very efficient and reliable, making them a natural backbone for the development of our mega-stations. We are beyond excited to work with the Nel team to deploy this groundbreaking technology as quickly as possible across the United States, said Trevor Milton, CEO of Nikola Motor Company.

Nikola has an initial target to build 16 of the mega-scale hydrogen stations between 2019-2021, with a minimum of eight units of the Nel A-485 electrolyzer per site. The solution is scalable to a maximum of 32 units of the Nel A-485 electrolyzer per site, equaling a production capacity of up to 32 tons of hydrogen per day.

Nikola has issued Nel a purchase order for the first two stations, based on Nel’s alkaline electrolysers and H2Station technology. Our teams have decided to double our initial station number to 16 by reducing the size of the stations and create more hydrogen lanes. We have thousands of trucks that have been reserved and need to be delivered. The stations are the first step to completing that process. Nel has delivered over 3 500 hydrogen solutions in over 80 countries since 1927. We are confident they can deliver, said Scott Perry, Nikola’s COO.

According to Nikola, each station is anticipated to have the following specifications:

  • Nel ASA to provide engineering, electrolysis, and fueling equipment
  • Nikola will provide the balance of plant, construction, dispensers and other station equipment.
  • Hydrogen stations will initially produce up to eight tons daily, but can also be expanded up to 32 tons per day
  • Each Nikola truck is anticipated to consume around 50-75 kgs per day
  • Each Nikola truck will store between two and three-megawatt hours (MWh) of energy
  • Each station will have around 4 000 kgs of backup storage for redundancy
  • Each station is anticipated to produce hydrogen at 700 bar (10,000 psi) and 350 bar (5 000 psi)
  • Nikola will allow all hydrogen vehicles to fill at their stations

Nikola’s objective is to produce hydrogen through zero-emission methods whenever possible by using wind, solar and hydro-electricity.

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