Green Hydrogen and Transportation Industry – An Overview of Its Applications

Written by Vishalya Sooriarachchi

Green hydrogen, a major part of the transformation towards 100% renewable energy, is considered an important source of energy. It currently is of considerable cost as of now, and only comprises a minimal amount of energy percentage in the U.S. energy market. However, there is higher interest in determining the level of significance green hydrogen is capable to play in the development of the transportation industry considering a revolutionary development is needed in the sector. The usage of Green Hydrogen in the transportation sector has created a novel requirement to initiate the development of cost-efficient extraction methods and the share of renewable sources rendered for the production of Hydrogen is expected to increase in order to comply with a considerable percentage of energy demand in the transportation sector.

The adaption of proper mechanisms to increase the availability of energy sources in the world is on the rise, and on such terms, adapting low-cost renewable carbohydrates has been of higher interest. Thus, the generation of green hydrogen has been identified as an excellent alternative for averting an energy crisis in the 21st century world. And at present, the application of hydrogen into human lives has been highlighted upon almost all available segments including industrial, domestic, transportation, and other areas. However, the actual transformation techniques are limited due to the constraints set when using green hydrogen as a source of energy.

Plans for sustainable development are being created mainly to induce a more environmentally friendly living pattern, and thus, all sources of possible environmental pollution are being traced to the core. In such conditions, the transportation industry has been identified as responsible for a larger impact on the amount of CO2 emitted to the environment. This has created a place where people are more interested in determining more environment-friendly transportation techniques including more effective sources of energy. The use of green hydrogen could help mitigate pollution as it disperses into thin air. Thereby, being a source of energy that is capable to provide more power at minimal damage to the environment, Green Hydrogen in the modern world is considered an effective source of energy. Both the International Energy Agency and the UK government have identified the importance of the role played by hydrogen when creating an emission-free transportation system along with tackling the issue of air pollution. A more prominently highlighted use of green hydrogen has been introduced as the charging of fuel-cells in electric vehicles.

Transportation of green hydrogen as a source of energy among places is a risk assorted with higher cost requirements. However, green hydrogen is still being transported along with the natural gases by blending them together to reduce the extreme storage requirements. Another major issue that needs to be highlighted includes its extremely low density which makes it requiring a very large volume to create the necessary driving range in a combustion engine and the reduction in the power output created by the hydrogen-air mixture due to the low density.

Three main conditions have been identified as major constraints that pull back the advantages brought by green hydrogen as well as hinder its use in the transportation industry. First, the cost of production and delivery of green hydrogen is extremely high and therefore a proper mechanism is required to effectively decrease these costs utilizing green hydrogen as a source of energy cannot meet the expected driving range of vehicles mainly due to storage system requirements. Therefore, vehicles are required to implement adequate storage systems to support the use of hydrogen for a demanding transportation industry. Finally, the costs incurred are extremely high and with such prices, the available opportunity for improvement is extremely limited.

The development of green hydrogen-based transportation perspectives has been delayed due to the increasing requirement of large investment capabilities to implement them in the first place. It is entirely different from the presently available vehicle charging concepts and has a significant need of infrastructural development if a country was to adopt it. Thus, the world has presently reduced its consideration on how to introduce this valuable asset into its energy market.


This article edited by Jose Medina

For a downloadable copy of the February 2021 eNewsletter which includes this article, please visit the IEEE Smart Grid Resource Center.

Vishalya Sooriarachchi is an undergraduate student of Sri Lanka Technological Campus (Sri Lanka). She will be receiving her B.Sc. degree in Electronics and Power Systems Engineering in 2020. Her undergraduate research is on the use of “Demand Response Management in Sri Lanka for power crisis”. She has also presented research on “Adapting Micro-grid based distributed generation in Sri Lanka” for the International Research Conference, held at SLTC, 2020. Her current research interests are the application of Control systems and AI in the energy industry, the development of Smart grids and distributed generation, renewable energy integration, sustainable development, and energy management. She is hoping to pursue a career in research specializing in Smart Grids and energy management.

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