Hydrogen will ‘effectively replace fossil fuels’ as the UK invests in clean vehicles

Bill Gates details importance of using hydrogen

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The use of hydrogen for long-haul trucking has been supported by H2Accelerate through new research designed to evaluate the success of the fuel type in the UK. The paper sets out that larger companies like Amazon, Nestle and DB Schenker, have the potential to drive significant market demand for hydrogen trucks and the growth of the sector.  

In the paper, the H2Accelerate collaboration sets out the needs and expectations of trucking end users and logistics providers as these organisations look to decarbonise their operations. 

They also outline how hydrogen can enable end users to achieve their decarbonisation targets while maintaining operations, especially amidst mounting regulatory pressure.  

The central objective of the collaboration is to enable a commercially viable, pan-European hydrogen trucking system in the post-2030 period. 

As fleet operators and drivers are a crucial component of a successful rollout of hydrogen trucking, their needs and expectations ought to be well-understood and met as the system is deployed.

The sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles will be restricted from 2030, meaning many in the automotive industry are looking at viable alternatives.

For most passenger transport, electric is favoured, with hundreds of thousands of EVs already on the roads today.

But many experts see hydrogen as being the solution for larger vehicles and long-haul trips.

David Burns, VP Clean Energy Development at Linde, an H2Accelerate member, said: “The findings of this study confirm what we have been hearing from industry partners and customers for the past year or so.

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“The heavy-duty transportation sector is on board with using hydrogen to effectively replace fossil fuels.”

An £80million hydrogen factory is also set to be developed in the UK which will help create hundreds of jobs. 

The plant, which will be built in Royston, Hertfordshire, will help supply carmakers looking to expand into hydrogen.

Toyota plans to roll out hydrogen fuel-cell trucks on the Japanese market next year, in a small step toward mass adoption.

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The hydrogen sector in the UK was given a further boost in July when BP and BOC released a study exploring details of how a hydrogen supply network would work.

They found that in the longer term, both liquid and gaseous hydrogen have the potential to play a role.

Both companies are now exploring opportunities to collaborate to design and deploy an initial network for heavy duty transport hydrogen refuelling infrastructure in the UK.  

Reducing emissions from heavy duty transportation can make an important contribution to meeting the UK’s climate goals.

While making up just five percent of vehicle miles, heavy goods vehicles accounted for around 16 percent of UK road transport tailpipe emissions in 2019.  

Richard Harding, senior vice president of portfolio and integration, bp said: “Our customers in hard-to-abate sectors, such as heavy-duty transport, are demanding low carbon alternative fuels. They need and want to decarbonise.

“Cutting HGV emissions requires new infrastructure, and by bringing together our technical expertise, understanding of the supply chain, and insights from our customers, I am confident that together we can do more to drive change at pace for our customers.”  

At a recent conference, Justin Laney, fleet manager at The John Lewis Partnership emphasised the importance of the £200m of government funding injected into a three-year zero emission road freight program.

He maintained that both Electric Road System (ERS) networks and hydrogen systems involve significant financial and logistical risk.

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