China recently joined the list of European countries announcing the phase-out of internal combustion engines (ICE). Three primary reasons are driving these decisions; growing health concerns about poor air quality, rising levels of atmospheric CO2, and long-term fuel sustainability. Hydrogen will benefit autonomous cars but why is hydrogen the cure for fossil-fuel addiction?
Two zero-emission alternatives (hydrogen fuel cell & battery electric) can replace outdated gasoline and diesel engines. But there’s a problem! Despite stellar media attention surrounding Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs), even zero-emission-friendly states like California can barely muster five-percent EV sales. The unpleasant reality is ninety-five out of a hundred customers drive out of the dealership with a polluting ICE vehicle.
BEVs are becoming popular (where available) and offer a solution for short commutes but sales figures don’t lie. Some of the perceived downsides associated with BEVs are:
- Limited range
- Lack of charging infrastructure
- Inability of the current grid to support volume residential charging
- Concerns about battery longevity, recycling and lithium & cobalt mining
Fuel cells vehicles should not be competing with BEVs. Both can happily coexist. The target for hydrogen fuel cells is the internal combustion engine.
The good news is that we can cure our fossil-fuel addiction but we need to offer a direct replacement for gasoline and diesel.
Here’s how to tackle the mass market:
- Focus Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs) as a direct gasoline replacement
FCEVs offer everything that drivers like about gas-powered cars without unacceptable health, environmental and sustainability problems.
- No Need to change driving habits
Hydrogen is a no-compromise gasoline replacement and fits the bill for every motoring need. Fill up in five-minutes? Check. Three to five-hundred-mile range? Check. SUV, pickup truck, camper? Check. Fuel cells are ideal for all these vehicles.
- Hydrogen competes on price
Renewable Hydrogen can be produced (at scale) to be cost-competitive with gasoline. See the Department of Energy’s latest estimates. Note that a kilogram of hydrogen contains about the same energy as a gallon of gasoline but internal combustion engines are about 17% efficient compared to 60-70% for a fuel cell. To get a rough comparison, divide the cost of hydrogen by three (e.g. $6 hydrogen equals around $2 per gallon of gasoline).
- Hydrogen is clean and sustainable, sourced from renewable energy
Storing renewable energy as hydrogen and replacing gasoline go hand-in-hand. Many people aren’t familiar with how the electricity grid works. Essentially, it’s a “live” system. Whatever is produced must be used in real-time; it’s the big drawback with renewables. Hydrogen has a much greater energy density than lithium-ion batteries and H2 is portable. It presents an excellent solution to storing renewables in volume. The real question is not how much energy is required to create this clean gasoline-replacement. Rather, can you create this clean fuel to compete with gasoline in price? The answer, at scale, is yes. Storing renewable electricity as hydrogen offers predictability, and a pathway to use all power generated at the plant. We just need to add hydrogen dispensers to the forecourt.
Imagine a world where hydrogen is readily available and cheaper than gasoline. If you had the choice between a hydrogen and gas vehicle at your local dealership, which would you drive off the lot?
HyGen is proud to announce the first pure-play investment opportunity in clean renewable hydrogen. We now have over 500 investors and have raised over $750k. Invest in HyGen today.