Hydrogen trucks are the most eco-friendly zero-emission vehicle, says ATRIMay 9, 2022
Fuel cell technology makes the long-haul vehicles a notably better option for the environment.
Hydrogen trucks are the zero-emission vehicle providing the most eco-friendly option for long-haul road transport, according to a new American Transportation Research Institute Report (ATRI).
The report acknowledged that the tech has yet to become adequately feasible for long-haul operations.
The ATRI’s report indicated that while electric vehicles do not produce any direct greenhouse gas emissions, the CO2 emissions resulting with the production of the vehicle itself, its battery, and the electricity production leads to only a 30 percent emissions reduction when compared to the emissions of a conventional diesel truck.
On the other hand, when the same factors and comparisons are taken into consideration, hydrogen trucks fare much better.
The reason electric vehicles don’t reduce emissions as much as many people would expect, said the report, is greatly to do with the production of their lithium-ion batteries. That process generates over six times the carbon of the production of a standard diesel vehicle.
The research conducted on the electric and hydrogen trucks was based on the GREET Model outputs.
The GREET Model outputs were developed by Argonne National Lab. The research also took into account the CO2 emissions generated by the electrical grid in the United States. The reason is that US electricity production continues to rely primarily on fossil fuels.
The analysis of the battery and fuel cell truck environmental friendliness was based on federal and industry-sourced data for the identification and comparison of the CO2 emissions throughout the entire lifecycle of various types of vehicle including battery-electric, diesel, and H2-powered trucks.
“The U.S. trucking industry is strongly committed to carbon-reduction efforts, and electric motors and drive trains offer many additional performance and maintenance benefits,” said CRST president and CEO Hugh Ekberg when discussing the report on the electric and hydrogen fuel trucks. “But ATRI’s research highlights that several of the leading zero-emission approaches being advocated today still need additional research to fully understand how the different technologies can be best developed and utilized to maximize carbon reduction.”
Hydrogen is hampered by the lack of infrastructure to deliver it safely and efficiently to those that need it. It was thus a mistake to leave it to market forces to set up the hydrogen infrastructure. Direct government involvement is needed for hydrogen to take hold — starting with the buildout of a pipeline to connect all major U.S. cities. Pronto too, since hydrogen remains our most effective means to fight climate change at scale. Why? Because hydrogen can be produced in many ways and because hydrogen has a multitude of uses — including being a carbon-free fuel for transportation — be it via land, water, or air. Hydrogen can also heat our homes and businesses and it can make carbon-free fertilizer, cement, and steel. Most importantly, yet most overlooked, hydrogen fits our existing business model for the delivery of fuel and natural gas — one that has proved durable for over a century.
Perfect insight George. Interim we must have refueling to kick start the deployment of HCET’s. Fortunately, companies like PowerTap have joined the effort to faciliate the infrastructure with their small on-site steam methane reformer based ultra pure H2 production and dispsensing systems, which operate from RNG and or Natural Gas, while including fully integrated CCUS for a Carbon Negative approach which has a lower CI (Carbon Intensity) than today’s Electrolysis based Hydrogen production initiatives. We all have to work together in this mission to save our planet and humanity from certain doom. There definitely is a need for EV deployment short term, while it is a good stepping stone, but the future must be a fuel cell based future if we are truly in this for the long haul as an earth dwelling species who respects all other species cohabitating this same rock.