Ruben Creus of Revo Zero tells Tara Craig about his company’s mission to launch a zero-emissions revolution – starting with airports
What is Revo Zero’s background?
Despite the differences in opinions, professions, or ideologies, we all agree that fresh air always feels pretty good when you are outdoors. With that simple fact in mind, we thought, how can we make our air cleaner in an affordable and practical way?
There's no doubt that with time and advances in technology, we will fix whatever problem we face, and while we must look at the future, we cannot forget that we are, in fact, living in the present and that we are the ones who are dealing with this problem right now.
At the same time, there is the crude reality that despite everybody's best efforts to make our environment more sustainable, effort and cost are something that everyone looks at before jumping on board. Good intentions are great, but if something costs more or requires significant effort, it won't be easy for itto become widely adopted.
We founded Revo Zero more than a year ago, focusing on developing affordable systems with currently available technologies. While we are targeting several industries, we began with the aviation industry because, as an aviator, I understand the struggles airports face when looking to decarbonise their operations.
Ruben Creus, CEO of Revo Zero, has a background in industrial electronics
What is the company’s mission?
Our mission is to start a revolution towards zero-emissions by using existing technology in creative, practical, affordable ways for individuals and businesses to access clean resources. We now have the tools to create a cleaner and more sustainable future and are committed to making it happen for everyone, everywhere.
Revo Zero provides zero-emissions systems to help fleets transition to a zero-emissions economy. Our offerings include green hydrogen production, distribution and refuelling infrastructure. We focus on utilising green hydrogen, made from renewable sources such as solar, wind and hydroelectric power, to create a renewable and sustainable way to decarbonise the atmosphere.
As an aviator, I understand the struggles airports face when looking to decarbonise their operations
What other companies do you admire?
There are many great companies in the sustainability space, but the principles of successful companies are universal. For instance, I remember when Steve Jobs invented the concept of the iPhone. He showed phones and MP3 players from other companies and asked, “Why do I need to carry two devices if I can carry one?” That was a pivotal moment in the definition of creativity. Nowadays, most companies are looking for the next big thing, when in fact the next big thing is what we already have, but we just need to use it differently. This mindset defines our creative process.
For instance, our society has been using hydrogen to power rockets to go to the moon for decades, and we're still struggling with how to power our cars. This reminds me of a sentence from the Wright brothers: “If birds can glide for long periods of time, then…why can’t I?”. Well, with that same logic, if we use hydrogen to power a rocket to go to space, why can’t we power a car with hydrogen to drive around town? And that is how the inspiration of others made us realise that we already had the answer.
Revo Zero is installing the first hydrogen dispensers at operator Avports’ airports
What stage is Revo Zero at in its work with airports?
More than a year ago, we entered into a strategic agreement with the US airport operator Avports, to transition its airports' fleets away from gasoline and diesel to zero-emissions solutions utilising battery and hydrogen vehicles.
We are in the process of deploying the first hydrogen dispensers for its airports to begin their transition to on-campus hydrogen vehicles, including ground operations vehicles.
We are beginning with airports in the northeast, and we are planning to expand very quickly across the East Coast down to Florida. Some of the airports are already part of our agreement and we're going to work with Avports to bring additional airports to the list.
What can you offer airports?
We provide HaaS (hydrogen-as-a-service). Our HaaS model allows any airport to host a Revo Zero hydrogen dispenser at no cost. We only require that the location is a publicly accessible area of the airport. The airport is responsible for the cost of installation, which is minimal, while we assume all equipment costs.
With our aviation partner, we have developed an airport-ready zero-emissions vehicle lease programme that enables an airport to lease a small number of hydrogen vehicles as a way to start the transition towards zero emissions. Eventually, the airport can buy the vehicles or it can continue to lease them. We also assist with the customisation needed for the vehicles to be ramp ready, by adding required equipment such as sirens, radios, labels or full-scheme colours. Airports pay for the hydrogen under a pay-as-you-go model. Our HaaS solution enables them to transition fleets towards zero emissions effortlessly and economically.
The hydrogen dispenser measures 3.5 x 5.5ft
We are planning to deploy hydrogen dispensers in all of Avports’ airports in order for them to transition their ground fleets to zero-emissions vehicles. We use hydrogen rather than electric batteries for a number of reasons. Hydrogen-powered vehicles enable operators to refuel in minutes, virtually eliminating any downtime, which is critical for the high-up-time aviation environment. For some specific applications, a battery vehicle could be suitable and that's why we also provide EV chargers. But, for most of an airport's operational needs, maintaining little downtime is vital and only hydrogen can achieve that.
With our hydrogen technology, we can achieve very similar costs to operating a gasoline car, therefore there's no excuse for an airport to continue pouring gasoline into its vehicles. Hydrogen vehicles can be recharged in minutes, rendering them ideal for avoiding long periods of downtime. We will provide hydrogen vehicles for airports that are using our hydrogen dispensers.
Today, airports can transition their fleets to zero emissions virtually at the same cost or with little or no negative cost implications. No airport has a good excuse to keep their vehicles releasing CO2 into the air and polluting our skies when they could use our HaaS model.
Tell me about your hydrogen dispenser
Our hydrogen dispenser looks very similar to modern electric vehicle chargers. It is around 3½ft wide and about 5½ft tall. When we install a hydrogen dispenser, a few feet away, we also install a storage unit for the hydrogen. The dimensions of the storage unit can vary depending on how much hydrogen we expect to be used. We look to ensure that each storage unit contains a minimum of two weeks of usage in reserve.
Are you targeting airports beyond the US?
Yes, we are already in discussions with some airports in Europe, but as of right now, our main focus is to complete our East Coast corridor.
Hydrogen-powered vehicles enable operators to refuel in minutes
Tell me about your vehicles
We have developed pFC (plug-in fuel cell) technology that we are utilising to create our Revo Zero vehicles. This technology uses a rechargeable battery and a hydrogen fuel cell to ensure that the battery remains charged by the fuel cell to preserve the optimal level recommended by using hydrogen. The pFC module uses AI to predict driving behaviour and activate the hydrogen fuel cell when needed.
The main benefit is that Revo Zero pFC vehicles can provide a range of up to 700 miles and can refuel in minutes. A key advantage of having a battery is that it enables the vehicle to be recharged when the automobile is not in use, taking advantage of lower electricity costs. The benefit of having hydrogen is that it provides a very long range and quick refuelling. Having both technologies combined in one vehicle ensures that it will always have a power option available when needed, thus eliminating range anxiety.
The Revo Zero Energy's three rows can be converted into a large cargo capacity
What is the vehicle’s capacity?
Our Revo Zero model Energy is a large luxury SUV with three rows that can be converted into a large cargo capacity. While mostly intended for residential use, it would work well in an airport environment, having been designed for the most challenging conditions.
Can you customise existing vehicles made by other manufacturers?
We are working with our partners on some specialty vehicles we can convert to hydrogen, but that is on a case-by-case basis. However, retrofitting existing vehicles is not the best idea as it can create warranty and liability issues.
For now, we're using market-available hydrogen vehicles for the airports, and we expect to be able to offer our own in the future.
What next for Revo Zero?
We are in discussions about developing new partnerships, especially in terms of the long-range hydrogen-powered zero-emission aircraft prototype for general aviation, but I can’t tell you much about this just yet. It is a very ambitious project and we have the ingredients to make it a reality. We are eager to build a consortium of organisations that want to be part of revolutionising the airplane industry too.
We are growing our network agreements, advancing our vehicle development, and exploring international opportunities. But as an aviator, I personally can’t wait to test fly the aircraft!