The commercial vehicle industry will have to embrace hydrogen as a fuel in order for the world to be carbon neutral by 2050, according to a new report by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI).
The report, Hydrogen – Powering a Net Zero Future, said that while sales of hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) are predicted to rise, hydrogen is actually forecast to have a far greater impact in long-haul freight, shipping, public transportation and potentially aviation, where the limited range and efficiency of the batteries of battery powered electric vehicles (BEVs) are unsuitable.
Some parts of the world are already embracing hydrogen-fueled public transportation.
In 2018, Germany began the operation of two hydrogen trains and cities across the globe are using hydrogen fuel cell buses.
For long-haul freight, either on road or by sea, hydrogen is predicted to be able to play a role either directly, in the form of FCEV trucks, or indirectly by being converted into ammonia as a shipping fuel.
An excerpt from the report said: “When it comes to enabling greater use of renewable electricity, hydrogen can play a role in two key areas.
“As a form of energy storage for renewable electricity and as a cleaner source of reliable power generation to complement variable renewables.”
MHI said building hydrogen to the scale needed to fulfil these functions will require the intermediate step of decarbonizing traditional hydrogen production through carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) until production from electrolysis powered by renewables becomes commercially viable.
The UK has established a Hydrogen Task Force a coalition of 10 organisations with a shared cross sector vision for hydrogen energy and fuel in Britain.
The action plan from the task force includes development of a cross-departmental hydrogen strategy within UK government, commitment by government of £1bn over the next Spending Review Period to hydrogen production, storage and distribution projects.
It will also include development of financial support for the production of hydrogen for blending into the gas grid, industrial use, power generation and transport.
The industry is also collaborating to establish 100 hydrogen refuelling stations (HRS) by 2025 to support the roll-out of hydrogen transport.
The full Hydrogen – Powering a Net Zero Future is available to read for free.