Prospects for hydrogen as a transport fuel

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Early forecasts for hydrogen's role in transport usually proved over-optimistic, with several seeing hydrogen as an important transport fuel by year 2010 or even much earlier. Over the past century, vehicular passenger transport has experienced hypergrowth in terms of task, energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. For a variety of reasons, future decades may well see a significantly reduced global passenger transport task, as well as a widespread phasing-out of internal combustion engine vehicles, especially in cities. In contrast, the global freight transport task is unlikely to decline much, and could even grow, so that freight transport will dominate total transport energy use. Even if the world does finally respond seriously to climate change, likely policies will not favour hydrogen for private passenger vehicles for many decades. Nevertheless, hydrogen has clear superiority over electric vehicles for heavy freight transport. Given this advantage, it may be desirable to promote hydrogen for freight well before large amounts of renewable hydrogen are available from surplus intermittent renewable energy electricity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16029-16037
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Hydrogen Energy
Issue number31
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Electric vehicles
  • Freight transport
  • Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles
  • Passenger transport
  • Renewable energy

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