Heavy-Duty Transport: Entry into Hydrogen Fuel UseSeptember 1, 2022
The race is on, to develop alternate fuel sources that will power our transport networks of the future.
Hydrogen has been heralded as one of the fuel sources best suited for the heavy-duty transport industry of the future. While the development of hydrogen fuel is in its infancy both private enterprise and government organizations are dedicated to making hydrogen a viable fuel source. Not only is it important for hydrogen fuel to be a viable fuel source but it must be safe for the environment and safe to produce and distribute at an industrial scale.
Hydrogen Fuel Production
Hydrogen fuel is widely regarded as a green fuel of the future as fuel cells will produce no carbon dioxide (CO2). Rather, fuel cells only emit water vapor as a by-product of energy generation. The fuel cell is very similar to how electric vehicles produce energy from charged batteries. In the case of hydrogen, the fuel cell does not lose charge, rather it uses hydrogen to create the electricity that powers the motor. This means that rather than having to charge a battery, the vehicle needs to be supplied with hydrogen. Filling hydrogen fuel cells could prove more effective than charging a battery if certain hurdles are overcome.
One such hurdle is the production of hydrogen at an industrial scale. This is a favored critique of those critical of hydrogens viability. That being said three methods of hydrogen production have been developed that seem best poised to overcome this hurdle. The first is called steam reforming which involves steam reacting with a fossil fuel at high temperatures to produce hydrogen. The second method is electrolysis where hydrogen is split from a water molecule through the use of an electrolyzer. Lastly, hydrogen can be produced via biomass conversion where microbes are used to break down organic material. This process produces hydrogen as a by-product of the waste feed upon by the microbes.
Hydrogen Use in Heavy Duty Transport
Perhaps one of the greatest aspects of hydrogen use in heavy-duty transport is turning the industry far greener in terms of environmental impact. For those in cities and the surrounding areas, hydrogen use as a fuel can revolutionize the industry, even the charlotte trucking industry, and revolutionize the industry’s career path.
As more and more countries, states, and cities impose higher taxes on carbon emissions, in some cases restricting the amount of carbon emitted by vehicles drastically, the need to turn green is becoming more important daily. By not looking to adopt cleaner fuel sources and heavy-duty transport, the lifeblood of so many economies may be taxed so severely profit margins are evaporated. Unfortunately, electric vehicles (EVs) come with extended downtime while battery arrays are charged. Hydrogen offers the ability to refuel much as we do with fossil fuels. This could potentially be a massive cost saving for adopters of hydrogen-powered heavy vehicles.
While much work needs to be done for hydrogen to replace our current fossil fuel infrastructure great strides are being made. These strides being made by scientists, companies, and governments mean that hydrogen has a real possibility of becoming the future’s chosen green fuel.