Germany’s hydrogen strategy is focused on achieving climate goals, with the aim to achieve carbon neutrality in line with the targets agreed to under the Paris Agreement.
Germany is also keenly aware of the economic chances of a burgeoning hydrogen market & continues to pursue becoming a leading provider of green hydrogen technologies.
Having originally committed to achieving greenhouse gas (GHG) neutrality by 2050, alongside other European member states; the German federal government further strengthened the national climate goal to achieving GHG neutrality already by 2045.
The German National Hydrogen Strategy states, “Germany plans to establish up to 5 GW [gigawatts] of generation capacity including the offshore & onshore energy generation facilities needed for this.” (1)
An additional 5 GW are to be added by no later than 2040. A 5 GW production capacity corresponds to about 14 terawatt-hours (TWh) & thus only covers about a seventh of the projected German hydrogen demand by 2030 (90 to 110 TWh). The projected gap between production & demand underlines Germany’s plan to import hydrogen. (1)
Since the release of the National Hydrogen Strategy in June 2020, Germany has already signed agreements on hydrogen with several countries, including Saudi Arabia, Australia, Chile, Namibia, Canada, Ukraine, & Morocco. (1)
The German National Hydrogen Strategy clearly focuses on the use of green hydrogen. However, it also says that other low-carbon hydrogen (e.g., blue or turquoise) will “play a role” in a global and European hydrogen market & subsequently in Germany.
To support the ongoing decarbonisation of the truck & heavy-duty sector in Germany, Hyundai have become the latest company to support the country with it’s hydrogen & fuel cell decarbonisation of the heavy-duty sector.
It has been announced that seven German companies spanning logistics, manufacturing & retail, will take receipt of 27 Hyundai XCIENT Fuel Cell trucks into fleet service with funding for eco-friendly commercial vehicles from Germany’s Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (BMDV).(2)
XCIENT Fuel Cell Specifications
The XCIENT Fuel Cell to be delivered is equipped with a 180-kW hydrogen fuel cell system with two 90-kW fuel cell stacks. The system’s durability and the vehicle’s overall fuel efficiency are tailored to the demands of commercial fleet customers. The 350-kW e-motor with maximum torque of 2,237 Nm enables dynamic driving performance. (2)
XCIENT Fuel Cell’s seven large hydrogen tanks offer a combined storage capacity of around 31 kg of fuel, while a 72-kWh-powered set of three batteries provides an additional source of power. The maximum driving range is 400 km per charge. Refueling a full tank of hydrogen takes about 8 to 20 minutes, depending on the ambient temperature. (2)
Hyundai are not the only manufacturer to see their trucks being ordered into Germany to support with their decarbonisation programme.
German-headquartered GP Joule announced on 8th August 22 that it will purchase 5,000 40 tonne hydrogen-powered trucks from Clean Logistics over the next five years in a ‘low-single-digit billion euro deal. (3)
The Clean Logistics trucks will use heavy semi-trailer tractors equipped with fuel cells, batteries and hydrogen tanks & are estimated to save over 325,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually, based off a yearly mileage of 100,000km (62,137 miles).
Clean Logistics released its hydrogen-powered truck the ‘Fyuriant’ in June (2022). The ‘Fyuriant’ is equipped with two 120kW PRISMA fuel cell systems, developed by Shanghai-based REFIRE technologies.
However, despite the positivity surrounding the development of fuel cell technology & hydrogen for the heavy-duty sector; not everyone is in agreement that this is the long-term solution.
A recent study by the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems & Innovation Research in Germany found that hydrogen was “unlikely to play a major role in trucks due to the higher costs involved compared to batteries”.
On the other hand, H2 trucking advocates such as Hyzon Motors CEO Craig Knight, have counter argued that electric grids will most likely not be able to cope with large numbers of long-distance battery HGVs charging at the same time.
With Scania having been one of the first major manufacturers to produce a road ready hydrogen truck some years ago, they subsequently back peddled their development citing that the use of hydrogen in heavy-duty “will be limited since three times as much renewable electricity is needed to power a hydrogen truck compared to a battery electric truck”.
However, Scania seem to have since altered their view on this, as in April 2022 they announced they were building “an initial 20 fuel-cell trucks” after receiving an order from electrolyser & fuel-cell maker Cummins.
Hydrogen has some incredible benefits for the heavy-duty sector & with diesel engines being able to be modified to take hydrogen injectors; there is an immediate opportunity for the use of hydrogen for trucks & heavy-duty.
However, with infrastructure & agreement s about which hydrogen can be used & stored safely still in the research & development stage; the full roll out of hydrogen & fuel cell capabilities for the truck & heavy-duty sector is an ongoing development.
Written & cited by Katy-Jane Mason for & on behalf of Dolphin N2