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World Environment Day: Energy and conversion costs facing the hydrogen mobility market
World Environment Day: Energy and conversion costs facing the hydrogen mobility market

World Environment Day: Energy and conversion costs facing the hydrogen mobility market

This World Environment Day (June 5), H2 View wanted to look at some of the challenges facing the hydrogen mobility market as globe strives to decarbonise the sector, by re-visiting some of our webinars and coverage from the past months.

Back on April 8 this year (2022), H2 View hosted a special mobility webinar, which provided an insight into the hydrogen mobility sector, and some of the solutions becoming available, with a focus on the importance of infrastructure.

Read more: All things hydrogen discussed at H2 View’s Mobility Special Webinar

Despite hydrogen holding significant promise across the range of mobility sectors, there are still mountainous challenges the industry needs to climb.

A significant issue raised was the overall end-to-end cost of hydrogen, including the electricity to produce green hydrogen, and the conversion to a useable form.

Radiša Nunić, Director of Public Affairs for Hydrogen at Worthington Industries, explained during the webinar’s question-and-answer section, that he believes if we are to see hydrogen-powered vehicles on the mass in circulation, costs will need to become lower.

Nunić, said, “We don’t have too much cheap energy now to produce cheap hydrogen without natural gas, and we don’t have enough solar power in Europe installed to produce enough hydrogen either.

‘So, availability of cheap electricity is one of the factors, which will make or break our businesses. For that reason, there are a lot of studies outside the market which show clearly that the countries who have a large wind and solar potential will be the one capable of producing the lowest hydrogen costs per kilogramme.”

When it comes to converting hydrogen into a useable form, the process, regardless of the end-product, can prove costly, Nunić explained, “Is it compressed or liquid organic carrier or is it hydrogen in liquefied form? They demand different quantities of energy to be applied for that transportation method.

“At the filling station, it is a big difference if we are fuelling the vehicles, at 350 bar working pressure or if we are filling at 700 bar, as they need higher compression energy to compress the gas at 950,000 bars.

“At the same time, we need to cool hydrogen down while filling to enable us to fill in times of the 700 bar fuelled vehicles.”

Watch below:

The issues had been identified as potential barriers for the hydrogen economy as a whole in a report by the Hydrogen Council in January 2020, although the body anticipates costs making a sudden 50% reduction by 2030.

According to the report, the cost of low-carbon and renewable hydrogen production had fallen, and higher loads had led to lower distribution and refuelling costs.

However, to reach the predicted 50% cost reduction, the report estimated support policies in key locations, with investment of approximately $70bn in the lead up to 2030 would be needed to achieve hydrogen competitiveness.

Read more: New report from the Hydrogen Council reveals the cost of hydrogen will fall sharply

As manufacturers ramp up production for mobility, it brings into question whether the price of hydrogen is becoming competitive quickly enough to meet the need to replace fossil fuelled vehicles on our roads.

That being said, over recent months more hydrogen-powered vehicles, such as buses, have been deployed in regions across the globe, with many more feasibility trials and studies looking into apply hydrogen technologies for specific mobility uses.

What it would appear the mobility industry faces right now, is whether it can encourage enough people to take up hydrogen as a legitimate replacement for fossil fuels, to in turn justify lower production, distribution and dispensing costs.

Despite the current costs of green hydrogen use in mobility, should gas prices continue to soar, and renewable energy become more abundant, combined with less expensive hydrogen production technology, the initial hit of scaling green hydrogen in mobility could be outweighed by its potential to be a future lucrative market.

North American Hydrogen Summit  

H2 View is taking its events platform to America’s original clean hydrogen hub of California. Together with the California Fuel Cell Partnership (CaFCP), we will stage our North American Hydrogen Summit in San Francisco on July 14-15.

As our summit theme Building Bridges: Hydrogen hubs and investment suggests, the event will explore the $8bn of funding announced to create at least four regional hydrogen hubs in the US. These hubs will turbo-charge the nation’s progress toward heavy trucking and industrial sectors that run without producing carbon pollution – and they may just provide the path forward to a hydrogen-fuelled future.

With California and Texas vying to be America’s hydrogen capital today, where are the hubs of tomorrow? Further still, what can other states, and countries, learn from California’s success story? And how can we build bridges to a successful flow of international investment?

If you are a member of the CaFCP, be sure to grab your ticket at a discounted rate with a code that can be provided to you by the events team.

Full information about this event including attendance and sponsorship packages can be found here.


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