The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) has launched a new report which gives a detailed look at the key factors that will determine hydrogen’s future as a sustainable road transport fuel – a shift which the report claims could be vital to reach the UK government’s net zero 2050 targets.
Hydrogen is an emerging player in the road transport energy mix and part of a portfolio of green energy solutions that are at different points on their evolutionary timelines for replacing fossil fuels.
However, the report says that for hydrogen to be utilised in the future, policymakers and industry need to consider its role now, as well as the infrastructure needed and make investment for this to happen.
Joanne Cowell, lead author of the report, member of the IET’s transport panel and technical director at Costain, said: “There is significant focus on electricity as a viable alternative energy source for road transport, and in many cases battery electric vehicles are likely to be the most appropriate option.
“However, hydrogen has the potential to provide another alternative, particularly for certain applications where the characteristics of hydrogen are an advantage for the consumer. For example, for emergency service response vehicles where there is an essential requirement to fully recharge in less than ten minutes, or the weight and payload of a HGV lorry that cannot accommodate a battery, or where availability of electricity supply is an issue, such as in off-highway usage in construction, or remote rural areas.”
The new report looks at 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. It’s intended to help policymakers, the transport industry and technology professionals understand the role hydrogen could play as a transport fuel.