Published today (June 23), the Rethink Energy report, Heavy duty transport transition WILL rely more on hydrogen than batteries, has found that 8,000GWh of electricity will be required for heavy duty trucks by 2050, with hydrogen capacity set to overtake battery-electric vehicles in the field.
Despite finding that fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) will account for only 3.1% of all on-road vehicles in 2050, taking the total up to 54.2 million from today’s today of 40,000, Rethink Energy notes that continuous operations will require hydrogen power.
The report says as vehicles get larger, the uninterrupted operation becomes more essential, which is where hydrogen-powered vehicles hold an advantage of their battery-electric counterparts.
Rethink Energy’s report states, “It is only where there is a need for high utilisation rates, and short and infrequent refuelling, where hydrogen can take a significantly role.”
The FT Live Hydrogen Summit last Thursday (June 16) heard from several industry leaders who also believe that heavy-duty mobility will be a key application for hydrogen.
Alexey Ustinov, Vice-President of Electrolysers at Cummins, told the summit, “If it’s an application of the low payload, maybe battery electric is the right solution. But whenever you need to move cargo, which means you have significant payload, and you also need to have reasonable range.
“That’s where the metric technology is just not there yet. It will take time, we might expect some disruptive technologies and in the batteries, but today it’s non-existent, so the only solution right now is the hydrogen.”
In addition to heavy-duty road vehicles, the report predicts that across aviation and shipping, batteries will only be used in niche scenarios.
Hydrogen, in the form of ammonia ahead of liquid-hydrogen is likely to dominate a decarbonised shipping industry, with the reporting saying, “The difficulty of storing hydrogen, the world’s lightest gas, will see ammonia used as a hydrogen-carrier in the shipping sector, at least before liquid hydrogen technologies are developed for storage.”
With liquid hydrogen also having potential to take us to the skies, the report said, “Liquid hydrogen will also be watched closely by the aviation industry, as it develops its own decarbonisation methods, with synthesised fuels using hydrogen and biofuels offering an alternative route through 2035.”
A report by FlyZero in March (2022) concluded that liquid hydrogen could power a midsized aircraft with 280 passengers from London to San Francisco directly, or London to Auckland with just one stop.
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