In the United States, California is setting the standard for hydrogen fuelling stations.
According to a recent California Air Resources Board (CARB) analysis, the state will have the capacity to fill 250,000 fuel cell electric cars (FCEVs) at 176 open-retail hydrogen fuelling stations by 2026.
According to the research, the first 100 of these stations might be online by the end of 2023. According to CARB data, California currently has almost 8,000 FCEVs on the road and 48 public hydrogen stations.
According to the research, “these pronouncements have provided an unparalleled outlook for hydrogen filling station network growth in California.” “By 2026, California’s total hydrogen fueling capacity will be sufficient to support the deployment of about 250,000 FCEVs.”
Despite the fact that California currently lacks public access hydrogen facilities for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, CARB “sees a place for FCEVs in all sectors because to their extended range and quick refilling capability,” according to Clegern.
“Deployment of hydrogen-powered fuel cells in these sectors (medium- and heavy-duty) may offer a significant opportunity to reduce greenhouse gas and pollutant emissions, particularly near communities that have historically been disproportionately impacted by emissions from freight movement and other commercial activity,” according to the report.
It also stated that investments in medium- and heavy-duty FCEVs by CARB and the California Energy Commission offer “great potential for air quality improvements in California’s disadvantaged neighborhoods.”
Light-duty hydrogen technology, according to Clegern, is far further ahead than medium- and heavy-duty hydrogen technology. “There has recently been growing momentum and interest in the technology, not only in California but worldwide,” he said.
Hyzon, Toyota, Kenworth, Nikola, Hyundai, and Plug Power are some of the firms taking on the task of developing hydrogen car technology and manufacturing hydrogen fuel.
Clegern stated, “Achieving economies of scale is perhaps one of the most powerful approaches for reducing the currently high prices of purchasing and fueling FCEVs.” Because medium- and heavy-duty vehicles use more gasoline per vehicle than passenger vehicles, Clegern believes that the hydrogen fuel business will be able to attain economies of scale faster.
“Ensure that hydrogen supply, particularly renewable hydrogen, does not create a bottleneck to successful hydrogen station network growth and operation,” CARB advised public and commercial enterprises.
Green hydrogen was not mentioned in the study. Instead, it concentrated on renewable hydrogen, such as green hydrogen (made using renewable electricity), hydrogen created by steam methane reforming of biomethane, and biomass to hydrogen conversion, according to Clegern.
“Even with hydrogen obtained from steam reforming of fossil natural gas throughout the transition [to renewable hydrogen], the efficiency advantage of an FCEV compared to a typical gasoline-powered car still yields lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions reductions,” Clegern added.
According to Clegern, even when FCEVs are fuelled by hydrogen produced from natural gas, they are 2.5 times as efficient as conventional vehicles, reducing GHG emissions by 40 to 50 percent.
In 2020 and 2021, CARB anticipated that FCEVs in California will be powered with hydrogen that contained 90 percent and 92 percent renewable content, respectively. According to the paper, the California hydrogen station network is on schedule to supply vehicles with at least 40% renewable hydrogen by 2027.
According to the Department of Energy (DOE), clean hydrogen costs around $5 per kilogram, posing significant financial constraints. According to the International Energy Agency, the cost of manufacturing green hydrogen might drop by 30% by 2030 due to increased hydrogen production and lower renewable energy costs.
The Department of Energy recently started the Hydrogen Earthshot program, with the goal of lowering the cost of clean hydrogen by 80% by 2030, to $1 per kilogram.
“California’s zero-emission transportation programs have as their ultimate goal the reduction of greenhouse gas and unhealthy criterion pollutant emissions. “On a life-cycle basis, zero-emission vehicle technologies will only be able to reach their potential to cut these emissions if their fuel source also achieves these reductions,” Clegern said. “From this standpoint, zero-emission fuels must eventually shift to production methods that produce less, if not zero, greenhouse gas and criterion pollutant emissions.”