Hydrogen vehicles: Trends and outlook

Hyundai Truck
Trucks could benefit from fuel cell engines, © H2 Energy

This March, the German gas and water industries association DVGW published the findings of a study called “Hydrogen electric vehicles – trends and outlook,” which the organization had commissioned to evaluate the prospects for hydrogen in the transportation sector.

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Turquoise hydrogen: A game changer?

pyrolysis
Methane pyrolysis, © Leon Kühner, KIT

The German government has announced it is planning to pass a national hydrogen strategy this year, with the aim of establishing a regulatory framework for the sector. The transportation, heat, energy storage and transfer, and chemical manufacturing markets could benefit from its implementation very quickly.

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CH2ILE – The hidden hydrogen champion

Mining truck
Mining truck, © Anglo American

In 1883, the War of the Pacific, also known as the Saltpeter War, ended with the victory of Chile over Peru and Bolivia and Chile’s annexation of the Tarapacá and Antofagasta regions. But why go to war over the world’s driest desert? The area was rich in gold, albeit not the traditional kind.

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How to guarantee a renewable product

colour
Primary energy source determines the color assigned to hydrogen by CertifHy, © Hinicio

The CertifHy system for tracking the origin of green (renewable) and blue (low-carbon) hydrogen has moved past the pilot stage and can now be used throughout the EU to certify the gas and issue guarantees of origin.

The recent dynamism in the hydrogen market has led to discussions about the methods by which it is produced and the sustainability of different production pathways.

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UK gears up for hydrogen heating

gas grid UK
UK grids, © National Grid UK

In June 2019, mere weeks before stepping down as British prime minister, Theresa May committed the United Kingdom to an ambitious new target of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The amendment to the Climate Change Act made the UK the first G7 nation to enshrine net-zero emissions in law. This toughened stance has resulted in carbon dioxide reduction becoming a more pressing issue than ever.

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Solar, hydrogen and fuel cells combined

apartments
Apartment complex after renovation, © Vårgårda Bostäder

Vårgårda, a small town in the south west of Sweden, took a crucial step toward more sustainable public housing when it turned six apartment blocks into energy-independent buildings by using a combination of PV solar panels, batteries and hydrogen fuel cells.

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Hydrogen pipeline network

Today, most stationary power systems run on natural gas. The idea of blending hydrogen into the gas pipeline network, however, has been under discussion for a while, and there have already been some tests conducted on its feasibility. Heating manufacturers have assured clients that current-generation systems can run on low-level 10 percent hydrogen blends and announced that the next generation could manage up to 30 percent. They said in the long term, it would also be possible to use hydrogen only. For example, Viessmann has announced that all of its new gas boilers would be “hydrogen-ready” starting in 2023 or 2024.

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Stationary hydrogen combustion engine

H2 DI Zero
H2 DI Zero, © WTZ

The WTZ engine and machinery research center in Roßlau chose a different path to developing a new stationary zero-emission system. It designed an air-independent propulsion engine called H2 DI Zero. The name stems from the fact that some of the combustion gases are recovered so the engine emits nothing but steam. Instead of air, it uses argon, an inert gas that can be retrieved multiple times over, and pure oxygen, mixed with hydrogen.

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Multi-energy residential systems

bottles
Hydrogen storage module, © Hörmann Solartechnik

Besides replacing old devices to put in newer, more efficient ones, there also seems to be a trend toward more complex solutions. For example, Sunfire expects that at some point, entire neighborhoods will be supplied with energy through a combination of solar PV, heat pump and large fuel cell devices. These multi-energy residential systems will no longer produce heat and power for individual buildings but several residential units at once.

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New gas boilers run on hydrogen

Sunfire-Home
Sunfire-Home

German consumers in need of a new heating system have expressed growing interest in home fuel cells, an assessment shared by the public hydrogen and fuel cell agency. Although there are few systems on the market these days, and pretty expensive ones at that, their numbers are rising. As it looks now, the government will continue to fund the sector for a while. The following paragraphs offer a summary of what is currently available for sale.

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