Hexagon expands its portfolio of clean fuel solutions

Unveiling Cryoshelter’s new cryogenic tank technology for liquid storage of renewable natural gas and hydrogen. This article is a part of FuelsFix's 2022 ACT Expo coverage.

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ACT Expo 2022 in Long Beach, CA. Photo by NHOUSE Photo Services for Gladstein Neandross and Associates

Hexagon Composites, a world-leading designer and manufacturer of clean fuel solutions for commercial vehicles, 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).

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.

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Commercializing and industrializing Cryoshelter tanks

“Cryoshelter has a potentially disruptive technology with competitive edge compared to existing technology alternatives in the market. Our goal is to aid the commercialization and industrialization of this technology,” Jon Erik Engeset, CEO of Hexagon Composites, said. “The addition of Cryoshelter’s technology extends our product portfolio to include leading liquid-gas solutions. This will further strengthen our efforts to drive decarbonization in the heavy-duty transport sector, support Europe and other key geographies in securing energy independence and reinforce our position as a global leader in clean energy solutions.”

“Our people possess extensive education, knowledge and experience in the engineering and design of cryogenic tanks. We are excited to team up with Hexagon as they bring industrial expertise, a global presence and customer potential to escalate the scale-up of our operations,” Dr. Matthias Rebernik, CEO and Founder of Cryoshelter, said. “Hexagon’s investment into our company is proof of confidence in our technology.”

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. 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 best-in-class 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.

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 the remaining interests over the next 3 to 10 years. Together with Cryoshelter, Hexagon will further develop the technology and scale up the business over the coming 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 the remaining interests over the next 5 to 10 years. Together with Cryoshelter, Hexagon Purus will further develop the technology and business over the coming years. (Reference Hexagon Purus announcement, April 21, 2022).

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 a longer timeframe to commercialization.

The closing of the Transaction is expected to take place by the third quarter of 2022, subject to fulfillment of certain closing conditions and customary regulatory approvals.

Decarbonization will require compressed and 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. 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.

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