Hydrogen Fuel Outperforms Other Green Energy in the Transportation Sector
Hydrogen contains approximately three times more energy by weight than gasoline and natural gas, making hydrogen an efficient power supply for traveling into space. In fact, NASA has been using hydrogen and fuel cell technologies since its inception in 1958. A vehicle doesn’t have to be leaving the Earth to benefit from using lightweight fuel, though. Conducting business amidst strict weight limitations is a daily challenge for the trucking industry. While each state has its own complex set of regulations for truck size and weight depending on the specific vehicle and stretch of highway, Interstate highways have a gross weight limit of 80,000 pounds. Overweight vehicles damage roadways and bridges–resulting in increased maintenance costs and destabilization. Limits are enforced through a series of state-operated scales and periodic inspections. The trucking industry has two critical components at play: first, how much cargo can they fit into one load safely, and secondly, how quickly can they get to the load to their destination?
Hydrogen Fuel Allows for More Cargo Capacity
For a freight company using alternative energy, the batteries required to power semi-trucks with 100% electricity consume too much weight. For example, to achieve a 300-mile drive span, a semi-truck needs a series of about six batteries for a total weight of 7,800 pounds–nearly 10% of the gross weight limit. Another study estimated a truck with this capacity would require a 4.7-ton battery–that’s 9,400 pounds. A better option for a freight company to optimize green energy is to power their fleet with hydrogen fuel. In late 2020, Toyota revealed plans for its next-generation semi-trucks built on a Kenworth T680 chassis using hydrogen fuel cell technology. They are confident these units will have a driving range of 300 miles without cutting into traditional cargo weight capacity.
Hydrogen Fuel Gets Trucks Back on the Road Faster
100% electric-powered vehicles will have a place in our transportation future, but there’s another significant constraint holding it back from being a viable option for trucking. Long haul truckers drive an average of 605 to 650 miles per day. If an electric-powered freight truck has a maximum range of 300 miles per “tank,” that means they can only drive a half-day before needing to recharge. For example, the Freightliner Cascadia has a driving range of 200 miles and requires 90 minutes for a full recharge. To drive further, more battery cells would be necessary, and that would increase gross weight immensely. On the other hand, hydrogen fuel cell freight trucks can be refilled quickly. The Nikola Two has a driving range between 500 and 750 miles and can be refilled within 10 to 15 minutes. In other words, they can drive further between stops and be back on the road in a fraction of the time. For an industry where time is money, this translates to greater bottom-line profitability.
Eliminating the One Roadblock – Making Hydrogen Fuel Accessible
The only real constraint for the trucking industry to adopt hydrogen fuel for their fleets is accessibility to refueling stations. Most hydrogen filling stations are in California, as a history of state mandates and incentive programs has encouraged businesses to build the infrastructure required to support green transportation. As companies realize the benefits of using clean, hydrogen fuel, it’s only a matter of time for other states to take similar action and make hydrogen fuel the norm for the trucking industry nationwide. The Andretti Group and PowerTap Hydrogen make it easy and affordable for fuel station owners to add hydrogen fuel to their product offerings. PowerTap Hydrogen’s patented equipment using steam methane reforming technology allows fuel station owners to produce hydrogen fuel on-site and on-demand, eliminating the need for advanced orders or significant storage facilities. In just over 1,000 square feet, you can be at the forefront of providing clean energy to commercial transport and consumer FCV owners. Visit us at www.andretti1.com or contact us to discuss how you can transform your business to address the energy demands of the near future.