Over Part 1 and Part 2 of this series we looked at: 1) the key factors driving the competitiveness of hydrogen as a solution. Namely: Asset utilisation; Volume of Energy; and Mobility / ‘off-grid’ consumption of energy, and in 2) where and why hydrogen beats today’s options and other low-carbon solutions.
In this third instalment of this four-part series looking at the commercial competitiveness of hydrogen, we consider the applications where the commercial competitiveness of hydrogen will require a case-by-case evaluation to determine if a hydrogen fuel cell (HFC) system is the right answer. These are applications where hydrogen can be the right answer, but it will be situationally dependant as to whether it is a better answer than another low carbon technology or an incumbent.
These applications still require high scoring across the three driving factors of hydrogen competitiveness laid out in Part 1 (higher utilisation, higher energy requirements, and are mobile or off-grid, Figure 1), and usually need to score very high on at least two of the factors. Again, these applications currently are primarily served by petrochemical fuels. And the difference between an instance in which hydrogen is competitive vs. an instance in which it isn’t comes a lot more down to specific operational requirements or behavioural patterns for each use-case and specific operator. These situations will be swung to a much greater degree by the other operational and performance advantages of using a HFC system.
As per the previous articles, we will be using the helpful and clear chart below. It is Exhibit 5, presented in the Hydrogen Council’s report “Path to Hydrogen Competitiveness”. Examples of these applications sit on the top and right quadrant lines of the chart, sitting between winning against conventional and low-carbon solutions. The examples presented by the Hydrogen Council are: 1) “Short-distance urban bus”; 2) “Van for urban delivery”; 3) “Mid-size short range vehicle”. Additionally, we have added small, sub-5kW, electrical generators (given their large global prevalence) as another example of an application where it will be dependent on the use-case.
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