Hydrogen fuel may be one of America’s best-kept secrets. While the United States government began contributing dollars to the study of hydrogen fuel as an alternative energy source beginning as far back as the oil crisis of the 1970s, the media has focused more heavily on electric vehicles as a replacement for conventional gasoline. Yet hydrogen fuel has more opportunity in the long run to be a viable source of power.
The U.S. currently leads the world in implementing this alternative energy source. With their focus on setting zero-emission standards throughout the state, California already has 41 stations open and operating to provide hydrogen fuel for personal and commercial vehicles. While only 7,271 hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (FCEVs) traverse our roads (as of 2019), that number exceeds those of any other country to date and large orders for commercial trucks and passenger vehicles are currently in production.
The future for hydrogen power is bright. According to Keith Wipke, Laboratory Program Manager for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in February 2021: “Hydrogen is an abundant and highly effective energy carrier and with support from DoE’s Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office we have shown how to harness its potential in sectors that are more difficult to decarbonize. We anticipate rapid advances in hydrogen fueling infrastructure, next-generation electrolysis technologies, larger-scale deployment of green hydrogen production, and durable, low-cost fuel cell systems, which we think will make it competitive in multiple markets across the nation.”
Experts at Deloitte and Ballard agree. In their 2020 study, “Fueling the Future of Mobility: Hydrogen and fuel cell solutions for transportation,” they forecast the total cost of ownership (TCO) of FCEVs will be less than Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) by 2026 and less than internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEs) by 2027. Currently, the TCO of FCEVs exceeds BEVs by 40% and ICEs by 90%. The changes that will drastically lower costs in just 6 to 7 years will be attributed to reduced fuel cell manufacturing expenses as higher economies of scale are achieved combined with a reduced cost of hydrogen fuel itself as its production costs decrease and the fuel becomes more readily available to consumers.
The material required for manufacturing a hydrogen fuel cell versus an electric vehicle battery is very different. The most expensive material in a hydrogen fuel cell is platinum—making up only 1% of the overall cost of the unit. On the other hand, lithium and cobalt make up a significant portion of electric vehicle batteries—which not only require more mining of these heavy metals from the earth but also are also more difficult to dispose of or recycle economically.
The California Fuel Cell Partnership (CaFCP) has a goal to create a network of at least 1,000 hydrogen stations and put at least 1 million FCEVs on the road by 2030—only 9 years from now! They estimate these numbers will reduce gasoline usage by 693.5 million gallons, avoid 2.7 million metric tons of greenhouse gasses from entering our atmosphere, eliminate 3,900 metric tons of nitrox oxide generation, and make fuel accessible for 97% of disadvantaged communities in the state.
What can you do now?
Now is the perfect time to explore providing hydrogen fuel at your existing stations. The Andretti Group with PowerTap’s technology allows you to manufacture hydrogen fuel on-site to meet the needs of your consumers without the complications of ordering fuel and storing excess inventory. with l,000 square feet and access to renewable natural gas, electricity, and your city’s water supply you can be providing alternative energy to fuel the vehicles of the future.
Contact us to learn more about our exclusive PowerTap hydrogen production technology and see how easy it is to get started.