The decade of hydrogen has begun. Green hydrogen could supply almost 20% of the world energy demand by 2050, and effectively eliminate six gigatonnes of CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions every year.
The versatility of hydrogen production, storage and transportation are significant advantages. Hydrogen systems do not use critical materials – with the exception of platinum whose content should rapidly shrink to about 20 grs. per 100kW and which has excellent recyclability. Apart from the environmental benefits of this transition, hydrogen production can help alleviate dependence on global energy supply chains and increase energy security and State sovereignty.
While we have progressed in solving some challenges, such as raising awareness of the benefits of hydrogen and convincing investors and key stakeholders of its value, certain obstacles remain. These include harmonising the regulations governing hydrogen in different countries, accelerating green hydrogen production and ensuring reliable distribution networks. On this particular point, options exist, for example over 20,000 km of natural gas pipelines available in Europe which could be adapted for hydrogen transportation.
Fuel cell electric mobility will start with commercial vehicle applications. Hydrogen is particularly well-suited to heavy-duty and commercial vehicles as well as high-horsepower engines because of its short refuelling time, higher autonomy and favourable payload conditions. Through innovation, technical optimisation and scaling, the cost of fuel cell systems will continue to drop dramatically. The total cost of ownership of fuel cell electric vehicles is set to overtake that of equivalent battery electric vehicles between 2025 and 2030.
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