While at ACT 2022 last week Fuel Cells Works sat down with Nuvera’s chief commercial officer, Kedar Murthy. Nuvera is working on establishing itself globally as the go-to manufacturer of fuel cells for heavy-duty applications, but it does offer a variety of power output options in order to accommodate multiple power requirements as Kedar mentions below.
FCW: Presently Nuvera is focused on fuel cells from 5 to 120kW. In 2021 California put into law AB 1346 which makes small gasoline engines illegal. With a 5kW fuel cell stack a lot of small outdoor vehicles could be powered including riding lawnmowers and ATVs. Is Nuvera currently in discussion with any makers of small outdoor vehicles to take advantage of the changing landscape in California?
Nuvera: Nuvera’s focus is on motive power from Class 4 to Class 8 trucks. Our focus is on medium and heavy-duty trucking. No, right now we are not focused on the lower power range. 5-10kW stacks are only used in battery-box replacement for material handling, such as forklifts.
FCW: Does Nuvera work with any hydrogen production partners to ensure that Nuvera clients have access to a reliable supply of hydrogen?
Nuvera: Today we are developing those relationships with potential supply partners. We do not have anything firm in place at this time.
FCW: What do you feel governments around the world are doing right to increase fuel cell adoption, and what, if anything, are governments doing that hinder fuel cell adoption?
Nuvera: Several governments around the world are putting in legislation that states that at specific points in time, like Fit for 55, that no more petroleum vehicles are allowed to be sold. China and other areas are putting in hydrogen infrastructure. What governments can do more of is to talk about how BEVs and FCEVs can co-exist and work together and how they are applicable to specific applications. For instance, back-to-base is an area for BEVs to shine in and heavy-duty applications are a place for FCEVs to shine. Governments have started to recognize that FCEVs are really suited to heavy-duty applications.
FCW: Is Nuvera currently working with any colleges or universities in the United States to ensure that it is able to obtain a steady flow of workforce-ready graduates?
Nuvera: We have relationships for hiring interns and co-ops with local universities in the Massachusetts area, that allows them to gain an understanding of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies.
FCW: When it comes to heavy-duty fuel cells Ballard, Hyundai, Hyzon, and others claim to have such fuel cell stacks. What, if anything, sets Nuvera apart from the competition? What is the Nuvera “advantage” if you will?
Nuvera: The Nuvera technical advantage is the open flow technology that allows the fuel cell to breathe easier, and to be more efficient and higher power density. The open flow technology allows multiple channels into the proton exchange membrane (PEM).
FCW: Speaking of heavy-duty, is Nuvera currently selling its fuel cell stacks to manufacturers of equipment destined for armed forces anywhere in the world?
Nuvera: Not at this point specifically to armed forces.
FCW: Does Nuvera currently have any plans to develop fuel cell stacks for use in commercial aviation?
Nuvera: Our focus is really in Class-4 to Class-8 trucks and we are not focused on the aviation aspect at this point. We are currently working on building several demonstration projects around the world by working with our parent company, and two fuel cells will be delivered to the Port of LA for one such project. The fuel cells have been integrated into two container handler vehicles and will be delivered to the port in June of this year.
Nuvera definitely has some forward momentum going not only with its Port of LA project, but it recently joined the Hyfindr marketplace which will undoubtedly increase interest in its fuel cell stacks. However, Nuvera is trying to compete in some of the most challenging parts of the market. Globally, but especially in the U.S., Plug Power already dominates the fuel cell market where forklifts are concerned, and Ballard and Hyzon both have fuel cells that already operate in the most demanding mobility applications like long-haul trucking and locomotive engines. Yet, the fact that Nuvera has acquired enough knowledge and technical expertise to build a commercially viable fuel cell means that it has teeth. Only time will tell how much of the mobility sector Nuvera is able to sink those teeth into.