According to recent research from Interact Analysis, the use of internal combustion engines (ICE) fuelled by hydrogen will take off over the next five years and rise exponentially during the following 17 years.
However, in order for this future to materialize, hydrogen-ICE cars must overcome a number of challenges that reduce both their short- and long-term viability. Cost is foremost among these. The cost of operating hydrogen engines and the cars themselves is expected to become a limiting issue, despite the fact that these costs are comparable to those of diesel engines and very inexpensive.
H2 ICE technology is best suited for applications with low mileage/hours per day because the average cost of gasoline per mile for H2 vehicles is currently higher than for battery-electric vehicles and fuel cell electric vehicles. Off-road cars are maybe the best candidates for this technology, according to Interact Analysis, as battery electric and fuel cell alternatives encounter more infrastructure difficulties there.
In addition to requiring small adjustments to the materials and components utilized, such as new spark plugs, hydrogen ICE engines will also be more complex overall and carry higher production-related hazards. Another challenge will be to fuel infrastructure, the company said.
It is important to remember, though, that many of these problems might be fixed or made better with further advancements in hydrogen vehicle technology. According to Interact Analysis, hydrogen will become much less expensive over time. If this trend keeps up, hydrogen ICE vehicles may one day be more competitive in a wider range of markets.