Hyundai’s hydrogen-powered 18-tonne trucks are set to squeal on the roads in Switzerland subsequent month as the South Korean auto manufacturer looks to develop a case for its net-zero emissions tech in a low carbon world.
Coined nearly two centuries before, hydrogen fuel cells first failed to win against combustion engines and now trail electric batteries in the drive for greener transport because they’re costly, hydrogen is hard to store, and most of it’s extracted from natural gas in a procedure that generates carbon emissions.
However, with regards to trucks, Hyundai and its partners contend that electric batteries won’t all the time do the job because the larger the payload, the heavier the battery, and that’s a problem for crawling up Swiss mountains.
And with over half of Switzerland’s energy deriving from hydropower, the nation has the potential to get “green” hydrogen from water with electrolysis, an energy-intensive yet carbon-free process if powered by renewable electricity.
McKinsey & Co stated in research in January that the cost of hydrogen produced with renewable energy could fall to 2 euros/kg trough 2030 from 3-4.5 euros now – reaching cost parity with diesel for hefty automobiles, once the relative efficiency of the power sources and the costs of a truck are considered.
While hydrogen has always been lauded as a possible alternative to fossil fuels, expectations that fuel cells will have a significant role to play as the world decarbonizes has helped drive hydrogen-linked shares to their peaks in more than a decade.