Transport Sector and Energy
The transport sector is the highest carbon emitter in the UK, with major steps needed to meet net zero emissions by 2050.
Hydrogen technology already exists and can be deployed at scale and is the quickest and easiest route to decarbonising transport. If deployed at scale, studies show that the total ownership costs of hydrogen buses will be lower than electric buses by the early 2020s. Hydrogen technology will lead to affordable zero emission vehicles. A report from the U.S. Department of Energy, shows that the average fuel economy of fuel cell electric buses is 1.4 times higher than conventional diesel buses.
A number of the World Economies are focusing on the use of hydrogen as a central policy to resolve the issues caused by Climate Change and to meet the targets set by the Paris Climate Act to reach carbon zero by 2050.
Hydrogen has taken off this year as the future green fuel of choice, with governments and businesses betting big that the universe’s most abundant element can help fight climate change. More than $150 billion worth of green hydrogen projects have been announced globally in the past nine months. In total, more than 70 gigawatts of such projects are in development, which could require $250 billion worth of investment by 2040, research firm Rystad Energy estimates.
Today’s Fuel Cell Electric Buses (FCEBs) offer a direct diesel bus replacement, capable of 18 hours of non-stop service, with refuelling times of less than ten minutes. Hydrogen refuelling infrastructure can be scalable: the technology exists to fill 100 or more buses in one depot.
The Hydrogen Council has the following target for FCEVs in 2030:
- 350,000 commercial trucks
- 50,000 buses
- Thousands of trains and ships
- 1 in 12 cars sold in California, Germany, Japan and South Korea
and the following target for FCEVs in 2050:
- 15 to 20 million commercial trucks
- 5 million buses
- 25% of passenger ships 20% of trains
- 400 million passenger cars
We see the demand for hydrogen going only one way.
Advantages and Disadvantages
The biggest shortcoming of hydrogen fuel cell cars is the sparsity of options for refueling, partly as a result of a lack of production facilities. A hydrogen engine is refuelled at special fuel pumps, which we envisage being part of an ordinary service station in the future.
At the end of 2019, there were only around 40 in the U.S, with approximately 80 in Germany.
The propulsion in hydrogen fuel cell cars is purely electrical. When you drive one, it feels similar to driving a regular electric car.
The quick charging time. Depending on the charging station and battery capacity, fully electric vehicles currently require anywhere between 30 minutes and several hours for a full charge. The hydrogen tanks of fuel cell cars, on the other hand, are full and ready to go again in less than five minutes. For users, this brings vehicle availability and flexibility into line with those of a conventional car.
For the time being, hydrogen cars have a longer range than purely electric cars. A full hydrogen tank will last around 300 miles (approx. 480 kilometers). Battery-powered cars can match this with very large batteries – which in turn will lead to an increase in both vehicle weight and charging times.
The range of fuel cell vehicles is not dependent on the outside temperature. In other words, it does not deteriorate in cold weather.