Green Hydrogen Trucks - When will we see green hydrogen driven trucks on the road globally ? - India Renewable Energy Consulting – Solar, Biomass, Wind, Cleantech
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Themes and Topics

  • Daimler Truck
  • hydrogen fuel cell technology
  • Hydrogen fuel cell trucks
  • hydrogen production.
  • hydrogen refueling stations
  • Mercedes-Benz GenH2 Truck
  • Nikola Corporation
  • Ram pickup trucks
  • Stellantis
  • Volvo Trucks
  • When will we see green hydrogen driven trucks on the road globally ?

    Hydrogen Fueling Stations for Trucks

    The deployment of green hydrogen-driven trucks is closely linked with the development of hydrogen fueling infrastructure. Companies like Nikola are not only focusing on producing hydrogen fuel cell trucks but also on securing their position in the hydrogen refueling ecosystem. This includes the development of fueling stations that can support the specific needs of heavy-duty transport, such as quick refueling times and the capacity to support long-haul operations​​.

    The commercial launch of hydrogen fuel cell trucks and the active involvement of major automotive and energy companies indicate that the infrastructure for hydrogen fueling stations is developing in parallel. These efforts are crucial for creating a viable ecosystem for hydrogen trucks, addressing one of the significant challenges in the adoption of fuel cell technology for transportation.

    As more companies enter the market and the network of hydrogen fueling stations expands, we can expect the presence of green hydrogen-driven trucks on the roads to become increasingly common. This transition is supported by significant investments in both the vehicles themselves and the necessary fueling infrastructure to ensure their operational viability and competitiveness with traditional fossil fuel-powered trucks.

    Top University research projects:

    • Several universities globally are conducting research on green hydrogen and its applications in transportation. Some notable examples include:
    • Stanford University: Researchers at Stanford are exploring ways to produce hydrogen from water using renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power.
    • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT): MIT is working on improving hydrogen fuel cell technology for use in heavy-duty vehicles like trucks and buses.
    • University of California, Irvine: Researchers at UC Irvine are investigating the potential of using hydrogen fuel cells in long-haul trucks to reduce emissions and increase fuel efficiency.
    • Top Companies working on Hydrogen Trucks: Several companies are investing in the development of hydrogen-powered trucks. Some prominent players in this field include:
    • Nikola Corporation: Based in Phoenix, Arizona, Nikola has already launched its hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) commercially. Serial production began at the end of July 2023, followed by a commercial launch on September 28, 2023​​.
    • Daimler Truck: Daimler has been developing the Mercedes-Benz GenH2 Truck, with plans for first customer trials with fuel-cell trucks expected from mid-2024. These trucks will be deployed in different long-haul applications on specific routes in Germany, involving major companies like Amazon, Air Products, INEOS, Holcim, and Wiedmann & Winz​​.
    • Stellantis: Announced plans to launch hydrogen fuel cell-powered Ram pickup trucks in the U.S. market by 2027. This indicates a broader interest in hydrogen fuel cell technology beyond just heavy-duty transport​​.
    • Volvo Trucks: Volvo Trucks has also been showcasing and testing new hydrogen fuel cell trucks, aiming to offer operational ranges comparable to diesel trucks (up to 1,000 km) with refueling times of less than 15 minutes​​.

    KEY GOVERNMENT POLICIES 

    • India’s National Hydrogen Energy Mission: The Indian government has announced plans to launch a National Hydrogen Energy Mission to promote the use of hydrogen as a clean energy source, including in transportation.
    • European Union’s Clean Hydrogen Strategy: The EU has adopted a Clean Hydrogen Strategy to promote the development and deployment of hydrogen technologies, including fuel cell vehicles, as part of its efforts to achieve carbon neutrality.
    • United States’ Fuel Cell Truck Deployment Act: The US government has introduced legislation to support the deployment of fuel cell trucks and infrastructure, including funding for research and development and incentives for purchasing hydrogen vehicles.

    SPECIFIC CHALLENGES

    • Infrastructure development: Building a network of hydrogen refueling stations is crucial for the adoption of hydrogen fuel cell trucks. This requires significant investment in infrastructure development, including the production, transportation, and storage of hydrogen.
    • Cost: Currently, hydrogen fuel cell technology is more expensive than traditional diesel or electric alternatives. The high cost of producing and storing hydrogen, as well as the cost of fuel cell systems, needs to be addressed to make hydrogen fuel cell trucks commercially viable.
    • Range and refueling time: Hydrogen fuel cell trucks need to have a comparable range and refueling time to traditional diesel trucks to be competitive in the market. Improvements in fuel cell technology and refueling infrastructure are necessary to achieve this.
    • Regulatory support: Governments and regulatory bodies play a significant role in supporting the adoption of hydrogen fuel cell trucks through incentives, subsidies, and regulations that promote the use of clean energy technologies.
    • Public perception and acceptance: Public perception of hydrogen fuel cell technology and infrastructure also plays a role in its adoption. Education and awareness campaigns may be needed to increase public acceptance of hydrogen fuel cell trucks as a viable alternative to traditional diesel trucks.

    CONCLUSION:

    In conclusion, while the development and adoption of hydrogen fuel cell trucks are still in the early stages, ongoing research, investment, and supportive government policies are paving the way for their eventual deployment on the road globally. However, addressing challenges related to cost, infrastructure, and technology will be crucial for realizing the full potential of hydrogen as a clean energy source for transportation.

    PERSPECTIVES OF GLOBAL EXPERTS

    • The potential uses of green hydrogen have been hyped up by many governments and aspiring developers, and it is considered a non-starter for passenger vehicles. But Cambridge professor and co-founder of the Hydrogen Science Coalition, David Cebon, says it does not stack up even for long haul trucking.

    “Hydrogen trucking is really not going to happen anywhere,” Cebon told The Driven.

    “The vehicles are at least double the cost of a battery electric vehicle and it costs three times more [in terms of energy] to run them than an electric vehicle.”

    • “Truckers make money taking a lot of load as far as they can,” said Carey Mendes, Nikola’s president of energy. “If you tell people, ‘It’s going to be five years,’ they will not adopt. It has to be sooner than that.”

    However, it likely will take at least five years to gain mass acceptance from trucking fleets. For the near future, Class 8 hydrogen fuel-cell sales will be in the dozens or hundreds, not thousands, MacEwen said. By 2030, however, MacEwen predicts 1 million hydrogen trucks will be on the world’s roads.

    Sharp-eyed drivers will spot hydrogen trucks on American highways soon: “This is not a science-fiction project. These are trucks that are real,” said Michael Hoban, Chevron’s general manager of hydrogen.

    Conclusion

    In conclusion, while the development and adoption of hydrogen fuel cell trucks are still in the early stages, ongoing research, investment, and supportive government policies are paving the way for their eventual deployment on the road globally. However, addressing challenges related to cost, infrastructure, and technology will be crucial for realizing the full potential of hydrogen as a clean energy source for transportation.



    About Narasimhan Santhanam (Narsi)

    Narsi, a Director at EAI, Co-founded one of India's first climate tech consulting firm in 2008.

    Since then, he has assisted over 250 Indian and International firms, across many climate tech domain Solar, Bio-energy, Green hydrogen, E-Mobility, Green Chemicals.

    Narsi works closely with senior and top management corporates and helps then devise strategy and go-to-market plans to benefit from the fast growing Indian Climate tech market.

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