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Hydrogen’s potential as a fuel for road transport

IET factfile: Hydrogen's potential as a fuel for road transport

This report explores current thinking about the potential for a hydrogen economy, summarises the challenges which need to be overcome and lays out five use cases where hydrogen fuel could provide a practical solution for road transport.

Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) are likely to remain the most widespread choice for sustainable road vehicles, but hydrogen presents as a viable option in applications where:

  • There is an essential requirement to fully recharge in less than ten minutes, such as with emergency response vehicles.
  • Weight and payload cannot be compromised to accommodate batteries.
  • Availability of an electricity supply is an issue, such as in off-highway usage in construction, or remote rural areas.

Hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) have an advantage over BEVs in being the most similar alternative fuel to petrol or diesel in terms of the user experience related to the time taken to refuel and energy storage space requirements.

However, these vehicles and their refuelling infrastructure have a ‘chicken and egg’ relationship; and both are currently in the early stages of development and roll-out in the UK.