Developing Hydrogen’s Future for Long-Haul Trucking

By January 23, 2023 4   min read  (625 words)

January 23, 2023 |

Fuel Cells Works, Developing Hydrogen’s Future for Long-Haul Trucking

Customers everywhere demand a greener and cleaner approach to transportation, and a massive shift in fuel is on its way. Many companies are turning to electric batteries to power their fleets, but this is not the only or most effective future for long-haul trucking operations. Hydrogen power seeks to mitigate emissions and delayed delivery times.

In fact, 95% of the demand for hydrogen consumption stems from commercial fleets. Hydrogen converts into electrons and water in fuel cell trucks. Those electrons power the vehicles’ motors in turn. Fuel cell hydrogen trucks are ideal for long-haul transports because they store the energy in tanks instead of electric batteries that need to be recharged regularly.

Ultimately, these all-powerful hydrogen fleets require fewer stops for refueling, can be fueled faster and can carry more cargo. They are also an eco-friendly alternative to support the planet far into the future. 

Why Is Hydrogen so Appealing? 

For consumers and businesses urging greener transportation, hydrogen fuel cell trucks promise an operation without environmentally harmful emissions. It is also more eco-friendly than diesel or natural gas. 

Additionally, fleet owners and businesses depend on speedy deliveries to turn profits and keep a consistent clientele. Refueling is 15 times faster in a Class 8 hydrogen tank truck than an electric truck’s 1-2 megawatt battery recharge period. 

Hydrogen-powered trucks can also ride longer without refueling, making them perfect for long-haul operations. With other aerodynamic add-ons to reduce drag and fuel costs, like boat tail panels that mitigate the air vacuum behind the trailer, deliveries can arrive in record times. 

Besides speed and clean energy, a well-maintained hydrogen long-haul truck has a higher cargo capacity than an electric hauler. An electric truck’s 1-2 megawatt-hour battery is considerably heavier than the typical diesel fleet. Hydrogen power only requires a fuel cell configuration and a small 20-100 kilowatt-hours capacity to fly down the highways with heavy loads intact.  

What Potential Challenges May Arise? 

Hydrogen is a compelling player in long-haul transportation, but the road to a hydrogen-fueled highway is not quite in place yet. Hydrogen fuel costs more than gasoline, making it difficult for infrastructure and distribution to spread in popularity. 

Hydrogen fuel providers are also wavering between truck-centric or passenger car infrastructure. The indecision only further stalls the implementation of refueling stations, so it may be difficult for fleet owners to completely commit to a new form of power. 

However, infrastructure does not need to change by any monumental amount. In fact, the structures and supports necessary for an all-electric fleet would be an even bigger undertaking in terms of charging and power requirements. 

Governmental assistance is on the way, too. In 2021, there were only 48 U.S. hydrogen stations, but the Department of Energy (DOE) is now partnering with public and private sectors to advance the quantity of these stations. These partnerships include hydrogen providers, fuel cell developers, laboratories and automotive manufacturers. Together, they are testing new products, updating safety standards, and offering resources to find and implement new refueling stations. 

Read the most up to date Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Industry news at FuelCellsWorks

A Driving Force for the Future

Developing hydrogen’s future in long-haul trucking operations is incredibly promising. They are free of emissions, fast, efficient and cost-effective, and consumers and commercial leaders can enjoy better service. 

Though the infrastructure is not currently as robust as it needs to be, the process is steadily rolling along, with companies like Daimler testing GenH2 trucks driving 625 miles or more and the DOE creating a web of refueling stations. With these innovations, hydrogen power will be ready to power transportation far into the future.
About the Author
Jane Marsh

Jane Marsh, Contributor

Jane Marsh is the Editor-in-Chief of Jane covers topics related to climate policy, sustainability, green technology, renewable energy and more.



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