via Royal Society of Chemistry
A partial transition of German road transport to hydrogen energy is among the possibilities being discussed to help meet national climate targets. A team of researchers from the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) has examined the hypothetical transition to a hydrogen-powered transport sector through several scenarios. Their conclusion: A shift towards hydrogen-powered mobility could significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and greatly improve air quality – in particular, heavy duty vehicles represent a low-hanging fruit for decarbonization of road transport.
“Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles offer competitive advantages over battery electric vehicles regarding heavy loads, longer driving ranges and shorter fuelling times – making them particularly attractive to the heavy duty vehicle segment” explains lead author Lindsey Weger: “Moreover, transitioning heavy-duty vehicles to green hydrogen could already achieve a deep reduction in emissions – our results indicate a potential of -57 MtCO2eq annually, which translates to about a 7 percent drop in German greenhouse gas emissions for the current conditions”. Accordingly, heavy duty vehicles (which here include not only trucks but also commercial vehicles and buses) equipped with hydrogen fuel cells are a possibility worth considering on the path to road transport decarbonization.
Road transport is a major source of emissions
Transport is one of the most emission-intensive sectors for both climate and air pollutants. In 2017, for example, Germany’s transport sector accounted for 18.4 percent of CO2eq emissions; 96 percent of which derived from road traffic.
While Germany has successfully decreased its emissions considerably in most areas of the economy since 1990, little progress has been made in the transport sector, which is in large part responsible for Germany’s failure to meet its target of a (lasting) 40 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 compared to 1990 levels.
The major reasons for this are:
- the increasing kilometres travelled;
- the continued dominance of fossil fuels in transport;
- and high average vehicular CO2 emissions.
Due to extraordinary circumstances, including the countermeasures adopted to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, Germany is now set to meet its original 2020 emissions reduction target. However, this reduction is not expected to be lasting, with emissions from the transport sector almost returning to their original levels in mid-June 2020.
Green hydrogen: a key to reducing emissions
The overall emissions impact depends on the method of hydrogen production: According to the analysis, emissions change between -179 and +95 MtCO2eq annually from a hypothetical full transition to hydrogen vehicular traffic, with the greatest emissions reduction afforded by green hydrogen production (i.e., zero-carbon hydrogen based on renewable-powered water electrolysis), while the greatest emissions increase results from electrolysis using the fossil fuel-intense current electricity mix. Hence green hydrogen in particular could contribute significantly towards achieving Germany’s future greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets.
The green hydrogen scenario also promises to deliver the largest reduction in air pollutants – up to 42 percent for NMVOCs, NOx and CO – compared to emissions from the German energy sector for the current conditions. However, producing hydrogen with the current (fossil fuel-intense) electricity mix would result in an increase or minimal effect (i.e., no benefit) in emissions of some pollutants.
Transitioning only heavy duty vehicles to green hydrogen would already deliver a large reduction in emissions (-57 MtCO2eq). “According to our calculations, if only the HDV vehicle segment were to undergo this transition, then we would already get nearly a third of the total possible reduction, with only one third of total hydrogen demand that would be needed to fuel the entire vehicle fleet – a clear low-hanging fruit”, says scientist Weger. In conclusion, the team of authors argue that commercial and large vehicles powered by hydrogen could make a rapid and substantial contribution to Germany’s overall reduction in emissions.
Background information on hydrogen:
Hydrogen is a non-toxic, colourless, and odourless gas. It has been safely produced for decades and is used in industry and space research. Hydrogen has the highest energy density by mass among conventional fuels (although not by volume at standard atmospheric pressures) and, crucially, hydrogen refuelling infrastructure is comparable to that used for conventional road fuels.
In addition, hydrogen can be produced from a wide range of energy forms, including renewable electricity. It can be easily stored, compressed or liquefied either in pure form, mixed with natural gas, or bound with larger molecules. Hydrogen is easily transported by pipeline, truck, or ship. It can be safely used to fuel vehicles and is in many respects even safer than petrol and diesel.
The Latest Updates from Bing News & Google News
Go deeper with Bing News on:
- MTC takes key role in SHyLO low carbon hydrogen project
Engineers at the Manufacturing Technology Centre are participating in SHyLO, a project to develop low carbon hydrogen storage and supply systems to help the UK toward net zero.
- Australian company to produce world’s first hydrogen-powered aircraft
Australian-owned company Aviation H2 is committed to achieving net-zero emissions in the aerospace industry through its use of green hydrogen. It has hatched an ambitious plan to produce Australia’s ...
- Poseidon Marine H2 aiming to secure large industrial contracts for its hydrogen-powered boat
Poseidon Marine H2 has revealed today (May 19) it is now aiming to secure large industrial contracts to support the development of its hydrogen-powered boat. Hydrogen has significant promise in the ...
- Coca-Cola Italia to introduce hydrogen-powered logistics trucks
Hydrogen will soon be powering Cola-Cola HBC Italia’s logistic trucks in a new agreement revealed today (May 19). This new agreement marks a vital milestone in Coca-Cola’s transition to zero-emission ...
- Outgoing French transport minister causes controversy by joining luxury hydrogen car start-up
Jean-Baptiste Djebbari is expected to be appointed to the board of Hopium, a sort of French Tesla of hydrogen cars, at the company's general meeting on June 20.
Go deeper with Google Headlines on:
Go deeper with Bing News on:
Decarbonization of road transport
- DB Cargo: Freight Belongs on Rail
Embracing this shift comes DB Cargo, Europe’s leading rail freight transport company. Already the company has solidly established itself as a leader in the rail industry: “DB Cargo AG is the market ...
- Perovskite solar cell technology on the road to commercialization
A new US Department of Energy report describes the challenges of commercializing perovskite technology for the solar energy sector.
- Hyliion Joins World Economic Forum’s Road Freight Zero Coalition to Drive Global Decarbonization
Hyliion Holdings Corp. (NYSE: HYLN) ("Hyliion"), a leader in electrified powertrain solutions for Class 8 semi-trucks, today announced that it has become a member of the World Economic Forum and will ...
- AMRC, industrial partners develop Type IV hydrogen tank for long-haul vehicles
U.K.) have announced the development of a composite hydrogen storage tank for use in the heavy transport sector, with the goal of helping decarbonization of road transport. In a 12-month project, the ...
- State of Sustainable Fleets Report Finds Fleets Are Accelerating Use of Clean Vehicles
For the third consecutive year, nearly 85% of surveyed fleets report that their use of clean vehicle technologies will grow. SANTA MONICA, Calif., May 9, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- In the third annual State ...