Transport is a truly diverse sector. From road to track, sea to sky, each mode of transport presents a different challenge for decarbonisation applications. The propriety of hydrogen fuel cell application to each mode of transport differs greatly, one reason being the sector’s momentum over the past decade.
Scepticism has forced overcompensating proof of concept before actual roll out, and greater acceptance of hydrogen’s capabilities across all sectors has only recently become apparent. The world’s governments are now strategically mapping a path for hydrogen in every element of their decarbonisation plans, with many already recognising hydrogen as an official energy in national laws. Transportation, however, is a sector still faced with an uphill battle for societal acceptance.
With a population of 328 million people and 289 million vehicles registered on the roads as of 2019, it is unsurprising that the transport sector is the highest emitter of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the US. Transport contributes a third of total US carbon emissions and has been proven to directly affect air quality within US cities1. The US also ranks last for vehicle kilometres travelled per capita at an average of 14,000 kilometres, which is 3.5 times higher than Japan with the lowest per capita2.
With an area of 9.834 million km2, private transport has become an integral part of day-to-day life for Americans, in both rural and urban areas. This has been recognised as high priority for change to tackle anthropogenic air pollution and environmental impacts, with some bold attempts already in place. Free public transport programmes are being trialled across the country in a bid to encourage commuters to ditch cars and opt for buses/trains, with Kansas City introducing a full time ‘Zero-fare service’ that started during the pandemic. These strong advances to decarbonise the sector provide a promising opportunity for hydrogen technologies to contribute.
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