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Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess: “Hydrogen and synthetic fuels aren’t coming”

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Herbert Diess spoke about hydrogen and hydrogen-based fuels on a German talk show.

We’re developing and testing synthetic hydrogen and CO2-based fuels to see what they’ll look like.

Those are required for ships. Volkswagen is the world’s largest ship engine manufacturer. Volkswagen engines power more than half of all ships. We won’t be able to electrify those ships. Planes are the same way. A plane cannot be electrified. Hydrogen-based fuels are required.

But why not automobiles? Because it is extremely expensive. It will continue to be extremely expensive. That technology only works if we can create it without emitting CO2. There are no fossil fuels. Green hydrogen requires the sun or the wind.

The issue is that you must convert the green electricity into hydrogen. And in the process, you waste 70% of your energy. This means you’ll need three times as much energy as a [battery] electric vehicle,  three times as many wind turbines and solar panels. Wherever you put them [for example, more efficient wind energy in Chile, more efficient solar energy in Africa], they won’t be more efficient. That means a car powered by a fuel cell costs three times as much. Not 30% more expensive, but three times as much.

That can’t be substituted. That is something that no customer will pay for. Because the benefit isn’t all that great. Refueling infrastructure is also required, and a hydrogen car does not benefit from better space use. In addition, a Mirai does not provide extra useful space. And it will continue to be this pricey for at least the next ten years.

Yes, for planes and ships, because we don’t have a better option. But not for automobiles.

Arnes Biogradlija
Creative Content Director at EnergyNews.Biz

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