Role of Hydrogen in Transport – A Seminar Report

The energy for the vast majority of transport, and certainly personal transport, still comes from burning fossil fuel in vehicles. Delivering that energy as electricity poses technological challenges with few solutions that promise a complete replacement for what we have now:
1.Catenary or underground inductive cables delivering electricity to every point along a restricted set of transport routes. This is fine for railways and trams but it difficult and expensive to for all transport routes.
2.Portable batteries in the vehicles can store and deliver electricity on demand. This is the focus of most technical R&D today, but the energy density of current batteries means that long distance transport vehicles are heavy and difficult to charge quickly, cheaply and safely – particularly at locations remote from the power grid.
3.A new portable fuel, with energy density comparable to fossil fuel but derived from renewable sources would be ideal. It could in principle be stored and distributed in much the same way as fossil fuels are today. It could then be burned directly in an internal combustion engine or used to produce electricity to power an electric motor. The most promising candidate for this new fuel, in the eyes of many, is compressed hydrogen.

We attended the Advanced Propulsion’s Centre’s recent seminar ‘Hydrogen – Time to Put our Foot on the Gas?’ in Cardiff.  Attached is our report of the main lessons learned from the panel of speakers.


About Alison Kidd

Research Psychologist
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2 Responses to Role of Hydrogen in Transport – A Seminar Report

  1. Zobeid Zuma says:

    The problem here is that point #2 is not exactly “true”. Experience thus far suggests that battery electric vehicles can be powered more cheaply, quickly and safely than hydrogen vehicles.

    • Alison Kidd says:

      I’m not sure there has been that much experience of charging hydrogen vehicles, has there? But charging a 75kWh into a battery in, say, a minute would need a 4MW charger, which must be difficult to manage cheaply and safely.

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