Vancouver-based Loop Energy, a developer and manufacturer of hydrogen fuel cell solutions, has unveiled its landmark 120 kW fuel cell system for deployment in the commercial mobility space. This important new product has the potential to revolutionize commercial transportation by achieving fuel cost parity with diesel. The 120 kW fuel cell system, the S1200, represents Loop Energy’s second generation of its eFlow bipolar plate technology and offers an additional 20% efficiency gain. The S1200 can deliver up to 60% net system efficiency while maintaining high overall fuel economy over a wide power demand range.
In the words of Loop Energy President and CEO Ben Nyland, “At the heart of Loop’s eFlow technology is a signature trapezoidal plate design. Unlike older fuel cell systems, this design provides better uniform current density across the entire active area and increases gas velocity across the entire plate to deliver superior performance and water management.
At the same time, London-based electric and hydrogen truck manufacturer Tevva unveiled its 19t Class 8 hydrogen electric truck designed for the European market. Tevva’s 19t hydrogen-electric model benefits from the company’s revolutionary dual-energy system, combining lithium-ion batteries and a Loop’ Energy hydrogen fuel cell range extender. The truck should have a range of up to 400 km. The partnership between Tevva and Loop Energy was originally based on the 7.5t Class 5 commercial delivery vehicles. Now the companies are ready to deliver a disruptive offering in the heavy-duty category before many established OEMs struggle to compete with diesel internally. Tevva is well positioned to compete with Hyundai’s XCIENT fuel cell truck range rolling out in 2020 in Switzerland. XCIENT is powered by two 95 kW fuel cells. It seems that companies, unrelated to their customers and traditions, are able to dominate the market by offering clean technologies.
Although Tevva was covered in a recent article, it was a long-time goal to learn more about Loop Energy. The following is a profile of Loop Energy based on a discussion with Ben Nyland.
The company was established around 2000 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, where it maintains its headquarters, research and manufacturing. In 2021, it received 19 fuel cell orders from 10 global customers and planned to triple production each year to reach 180 in 2023. However, as interest in clean transportation is soaring, 60 fuel cells have were sold in June, resulting in 100 and 500 fuel cell orders. in 2022 and 2023, respectively. This is essentially a 25x growth as hydrogen becomes a strategic fuel due to energy challenges in many markets.
Loop Energy recently established a manufacturing facility north of Shanghai to advance its Chinese market; a support and distribution center in London to provide a solid foundation for its largest customer Tevva and the European market; and a sales office in Milan. The company has 120 employees worldwide, a third of whom are dedicated to manufacturing. Historically, on the manufacturing side, Loop Energy has focused on assembling components into the final product; yet recently, it had begun to vertically integrate the fabrication of flux (or bipolar) plates for its new line of fuel cell products. The design of the flow plate is the company’s most important intellectual property.
To successfully introduce its products to potential customers, Loop Energy created a separate internal group, Global Technical Services, to work with sales to understand the customer’s technical requirements in order to deliver a product that meets those expectations. This group also executes the customer adoption cycle which consists of three phases. The first phase begins with the deployment of a single unit and allows the customer to test on a “bench” or evaluate in a mule vehicle. The Global Technical Services group works closely with the customer to ensure the deployment goes through successfully. In the case of Tevva, Loop won against three other finalists with an integration into the mule vehicle that worked in a day and a half. The second phase focuses on the scale up with around ten vehicles. It also involves commercial deployment. The success story of phase two is the Skywell New Energy Vehicles Corp bus company in China where 10 fuel cells were integrated in two weeks and put into operation as a municipal bus in May 2021. What is more remarkable, in Due to the Covid lockdown in China, all assistance was provided remotely. The third phase is commercial deployment, such as that of Tevva, where the company decided to establish a distribution center to both grow the business and provide dedicated support to its first commercial customer in phase three.
As the fuel cell market grows, so do Loop Energy’s new products and innovation. It now offers products with its second generation of eFlow technology, which involves narrowing channels that improve current generation across the surface of the fuel cell, while accelerating the flow of reactants and products such as hydrogen vapor. ‘water. During the cathode side fuel cell reaction, oxygen is removed from the air and the remaining nitrogen absorbs the water vapor generated from the oxygen and hydrogen. The situation on the anode side of the fuel cell, where the hydrogen reacts, is slightly different. The hydrogen there is no way out under pressure and escapes through the membrane on the cathode side. With eFlow innovation, efficiency is improved by up to 20%, translating into millions of dollars in fuel cost savings in fleet operations.
The second-generation bipolar plate design underpins the new 120kW platform. It continues to improve system efficiency to 60% and maintain higher overall efficiency over a wider performance range, while maintaining over 40% at 120kW. This platform will also allow Loop Energy to move towards 200-300 kW for future customers as well as more demanding deployments.