The truck sector dominates the use of hydrogen

use of hydrogen
The truck sector dominates the use of hydrogen

Source: Acatech Press Release

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The German Academy of Science and Engineering (Acatech) investigated the use of hydrogen as an alternative drive in a meta-analysis. Here is the result …

More than two years ago, Mercedes unveiled its Genh2 truck, which draws its electric power from hydrogen via fuel cells (pictured above). The OEM did not go this way in vain, as shown by the meta-analysis of the use of hydrogen.

(Photo: Mercedes)

For many, hydrogen is rightly the decisive factor in a successful energy transition. Shortly before the introduction of this alternative energy source to the market, people just wanted to know what role hydrogen will play in different sectors. Acatech and the Society for Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology (Dechema). To this end, experts compared a total of four studies, as the saying goes. An appropriate analysis of the use of hydrogen in the domestic mobility sector is currently being published.

H.2Truck traffic needs the lion’s share

In most scenarios, in 2045 hydrogen will cover 6 to 33 percent. domestic final energy demand in the transport sector. In numbers, this means that in 2045 hydrogen will be used as fuel in the range of 25 to 100 terawatt hours, while the total energy demand of the transport sector is between 300 and 400 terawatt hours, experts have found. Between 60 and 80 percent of the hydrogen used in road traffic is required in truck traffic. The share of hydrogen in bus and inland waterway transport can also be very high, but the final energy demand in these areas will generally be low. According to the scenarios examined, in 2045 85 to 150 terawatt hours of hydrogen will be used to produce e-fuels. These e-fuels, or synthetic fuels, will primarily power domestic aviation and (to a lesser extent) domestic shipping. On German roads, e-fuels would only help to make existing fleets and heavy traffic independent of fossil fuels over long distances.

Evaluation of various studies reveals a consensus among modellers. They believe that battery electric vehicles will dominate most transport applications in the future. And only where this is not technically possible or economically viable will the vehicles run on hydrogen and e-fuels, which would also be of particular importance for the climate-neutral operation of existing fleets. Here too, the most important thing: the demand for clean hydrogen in the transport sector is dominated by heavy trucks.

The mobility of the future is more energy efficient

The publication also summarizes the roundtable discussion in spring 2022 in which three experts from science, companies and business associations and one expert from public services discussed the role of hydrogen in the transport sector. In addition, the publication uses graphics to illustrate how high energy demand in the transport sector and the share of e-fuels are predicted in various studies, as explained by the experts involved. Most of the scenarios assume a drastic reduction in mobility end-use energy, which can be explained in particular by higher electrification in the car and truck sector and the associated significantly higher efficiency of powertrains.

If you are interested, you can download the meta-analyzer here.

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