NHA report shows hydrogen vehicles will drive change

The National Hydrogen Association in the US has released a new report which shows that an expansion of hydrogen stations is more affordable than most people think. The report, Energy Evolution: An analysis of alternative vehicles and fuels to 2100, shows that a scenario which initially includes a mix of alternative vehicles, and is later dominated by hydrogen fuel cell vehicle sales, is the only way to cut US greenhouse gas pollution by 80% below 1990 levels. The scenario also sees petroleum ‘quasi-independence’ reached by about 2050, with nearly all controllable air pollution eliminated by the end of the century.

In all, the Energy Evolution report compares more than 15 of the most promising fuel and vehicle alternatives over a 100-year period, using data and models to create scenarios where one fuel and vehicle alternative becomes dominant in the mix of vehicles over time. The scenarios evaluate the performance and viability of the 15+ alternatives in terms of greenhouse gases, oil imports, urban air pollution, and societal costs.

A task force of experts conducted the Energy Evolution analysis under the leadership of Xcel Energy’s Frank Novacheck, with significant input from H2Gen Innovation’s Dr Sandy Thomas. Experts from organizations such as the Department of Energy, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and the US Fuel Cell Council have reviewed the report to verify the objectivity of the methods and conclusions.

‘Quite honestly, the results surprised even us, but the data speak for themselves,’ says Jeff Serfass, president of the National Hydrogen Association. ‘They show quantitatively why it is absolutely critical that we continue significant efforts make hydrogen vehicles and stations more widely available to consumers.’

He continues: ‘Most people forget that hydrogen technologies like fuel cells are compatible with the other alternatives. For example, development of plug-in hybrid technology advances the development of the same electric drive technology used in hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles. So the point we want to make today is that we need to work on all the best alternatives together, not one as a replacement for another. And hydrogen is essential to get us to the desired environmental and energy endpoints.’

The task force assumed success for the various alternative vehicle technologies and fuels, including advances in batteries, commercialization of non-corn biofuels, ‘greening’ of the electric grid, and increased efficiencies in conventional combustion engines. These assumptions were made to fairly compare the hydrogen vehicle scenario with fully mature alternative technologies.

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Energy infrastructure  •  Energy storage including Fuel cells  •  Policy, investment and markets