Hydrogen (H2) as a transport fuel can be used in fuel cells to power electric motors or burned in internal combustion engines (ICEs). When burned with oxygen it’s only bi-product is water. When burned with air, additional bi-product NOx is controlled to ensure a clean reaction, giving an otherwise emission free fuel.
As an energy source it is widely and globally available, with millions of tonnes made, captured and used by industry for various applications particularly as a bi-product from hydro-carbon production, chemical production and energy generation technologies.
When produced using renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar or biomass, hydrogen has the potential to be a truly zero-carbon transport fuel. Even when the hydrogen is produced using fossil fuels, it can significantly reduce the overall amount of greenhouse gases and pollutants generated, compared with those emitted by conventionally-powered vehicles.
The hydrogen production mix in the roadmap for 2030 is forecasted to be 51% water electrolysis, 47% steam methane reforming (SMR) and 2% existing capacities (existing capacities are a mix of SMR and readily available bi-product hydrogen from other processes). The water electrolysis, using renewable electricity, includes both on-site production at the Hydrogen Refuelling Station (HRS) and centralised production with distribution to the HRS. In that same road map using hydrogen reduces the UK’s CO2 emissions from diesel transport by 60% by 2020 and 75%.