Element 1 Corporation has entered into a global agreement with NEXA Capital Partners LLC to accelerate the adoption of its methanol-to-hydrogen generators (earlier post) for fuel cell applications in aerospace and particularly electric vertical aircraft (EVA). Element 1 and NEXA are combining their expertise, along with NEXA’s capital market access, to hasten the introduction and commercialization of fuel cells for hydrogen-powered flight.
Methanol can serve as a convenient hydrogen carrier; a given volume of methanol (CH3OH) carries more recoverable hydrogen fuel than an equivalent volume of liquid hydrogen. Being a liquid at ambient conditions, methanol can be handled, stored, and transported by leveraging existing infrastructure that supports the global trade of methanol.
Compared to conventional fuels, renewable methanol produced from biomass, wind and other processes cuts carbon dioxide emissions by up to 95%, reduces nitrogen oxide emissions by up to 90%, and completely eliminates sulfur oxide and particulate matter emissions.
Element 1 possesses a scalable methanol-to-hydrogen generator and is the global leader in small-scale to medium-scale solutions for both fuel cell stationary power and fuel cell HD mobility. Its technologies can apply to hydrogen refueling stations (HRS), as well as onboard hydrogen generators (trucks, trains, marine vessels, and, in the near future, aircraft).
Our hydrogen generators, when paired with fuel cells, will improve the performance of EVAs by generating onboard power for propulsion as well as by recharging onboard batteries. Element 1’s solutions, using a hydrogen dense mixture of methanol and water, will significantly extend the range of EVAs beyond what may be typically achieved using onboard compressed hydrogen.
In addition, most hydrogen today is generated at large-scale production facilities, delivered and stored as a liquified or compressed gas. Element 1 designs hydrogen generators that significantly reduce the cost profile of delivered hydrogen. Lack of affordable hydrogen at the point of use has been one of the most significant factors limiting the growth of the global hydrogen economy. We can now produce hydrogen at low cost on-site at thousands of airports worldwide.
This emerging methanol/hydrogen technology represents a force-multiplier joining the ongoing Sustainable Aviation Fuel initiatives in assisting the aerospace industry to reach its 2050 Sustainability Goals.
NEXA and Element 1 will begin moving this technology into the aerospace manufacturing supply chain immediately, and through their newly formed partnership are expected to tap policies and funding from the recently enacted $1.2-trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (HR 3684). The legislation calls for the development of a sector-by-sector national strategy and roadmap to facilitate a clean hydrogen economy. HR 3684 explicitly mentions methanol as a practical hydrogen-carrier.