As fleets everywhere look to reduce vehicle emissions, new technologies and fuels are increasingly being considered. Badr Abduljawad, Co-Founder and Director of Operations at Hydra Energy, shares four trends driving hydrogen fuel adoption.
Despite what one might think, hydrogen fuel is surprisingly real today, with all signs pointing to accelerated progress in the decade ahead. Unlike the past, political and financial support, economics, and the critical need to reduce GHG emissions have kicked hydrogen progress into high gear. Last year (2020) cultivated rapid evolution within hydrogen transportation solutions such as tremendous growth in hydrogen-powered bus operations and long-haul trucking, with Hyundai delivering their first seven hydrogen trucks in Switzerland this year.
With transportation being one of the most carbon-intensive sectors currently responsible for the fastest increase in CO2 emissions, accounting for 16% of global greenhouse gas emissions, the industry must adapt for environmental, economic, and environmental reasons. Here are four trends that will drive the hydrogen industry to full capacity in the 2020s.
1: Boosted implementations of existing hydrogen innovations
In the years to come, the market will experience substantial hydrogen generation, transmission, distribution, and storage, making hydrogen more economical and viable at scale. Consumers can expect to see new industrial hydrogen applications, and a whole host of new innovative business models over the near to mid-term that will further hydrogen’s momentum.
An exciting shift happening specifically in the transportation sector is that planes will fly farther distances on ZeroAvia’s economical hydrogen-electric powertrain. Also, look for the first industrial-scale hydrogen production and distribution projects to come online as well as the large-scale deployment of hydrogen fuel cell trucks such as Toyota and Hino, and Daimler.
2: Governmental support driving hydrogen progress
New social and political pressure has ignited active and aggressive battles to combat climate change. Meanwhile, governments worldwide have announced significant hydrogen investments, from the U.K., U.S. and Germany to Australia. Canada has rolled out a smorgasbord of incentives, policies and investment that includes $182 million in funding for electric and alternative-fuel infrastructure, and in the U.S., the Biden administration says it will “ensure that the market can access green hydrogen at the same cost as conventional hydrogen within a decade.”
More government funding for research, demonstration activities, and the inclusion of hydrogen in green stimulus programs, clean fuel standards, and renewable energy requirements are all expected to come to fruition this decade.
3: Increased economic viability
Hydrogen fuel costs are already falling, and it's predicted that the price of the cleanest forms of hydrogen will decline by 30% by 2030. Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) further suggests a more than 80% decline in hydrogen production costs by 2050, resulting in green hydrogen production costs of $0.8 to $1.6/kilogram. For context, one kilogram of hydrogen has close to the same energy content as one gallon of diesel, which costs about $2.50 per gallon in the U.S. today.
Demand is pushing providers to get more innovative with their hydrogen offerings. Hydra Energy offers a service-based green hydrogen fuel pricing model alongside reversible hydrogen conversion kits for semi-trucks. This approach incentivizes fleet operators by reducing up-front investment and lowering risk, providing green hydrogen fuel at five percent below diesel's cost.
4: Joining forces on hydrogen implementation
Influential commercial partnerships and long-term supply agreements can help de-risk projects and provide investor confidence with high credit-worthy counterparties. In our own experience, Hydra has introduced a Hydrogen-as-a-Service (HaaS™) business model consisting of various critical industry partnerships from long-term waste hydrogen manufacturing sources to semi-truck OEMs to bring long-term value to our customers.
Companies like Hydra and ZeroAvia are innovative because they bring multiple partners to the table, thereby de-risking the technology and sending signals to financial markets and regulators about the economic feasibility of hydrogen technology at scale. Expect to see the continued use of creative and even complex value chains consisting of multiple players, all helping remove the barriers to hydrogen transportation adoption.
Hydrogen is no Longer the Fuel of the Future
The remarkable movement that has taken place in the industry is a clear indication that the vision for green hydrogen will be with us forever. And if the momentum continues, clean energy innovations will accelerate, fleet owners will increase technology adoption, and governments will continue to encourage the clean energy transition. Hydrogen will place increasing pressure on current transport-related OEMs to develop cleaner technologies. It will pressure fleet owners to adopt them, but uptake will depend on the changing technology economics and government pressure. However, the 2020s show strong signs of becoming the decade when hydrogen finally transitions from the “fuel of the future” to the “fuel of today.”