What Is The Big Deal About Hydrogen and Trucking?
The CeraWeek hydrogen panelist recently met to discuss the future of fuel, especially how it will affect the future of the trucking industry. In light of President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), hydrogen fuel was high on their discussion list. This new IRA contains tax credits for renewable electricity, leaving green energy companies to find new ways to produce more energy and claim these tax breaks. While this sounds helpful in theory, how will this affect companies who heavily rely on other forms of fuel?
What Is the Issue With Hydrogen and Trucking?
CeraWeek was not the only place where hydrogen fuel was the topic of discussion. Recently, the U.S. Senate focused on this topic relating to hydrogen-based trucking fleets. The majority of trucks rely on diesel fuel, but the rising costs of fuel have left Congress and trucking associations wondering about alternatives. The CeraWeek panel and the Senate both discussed the idea of using hydrogen-powered fuel cells for the trucking industry. Using hydrogen-powered fuel cells in Class 8 trucks may decrease the carbon emission over the next few years and help companies avoid high fuel prices. However, there are many complex factors to consider. While companies would receive a large tax credit for switching to hydrogen, the process of completely switching over to hydrogen is not that simple.
Some experts believe the rewards of using hydrogen will come only from using completely clean hydrogen that produces no-emissions. There are other ways of producing hydrogen, but it involves a pollution process. This would not help carbon reduction. Solar energy costs less than natural gas or lower-quality hydrogen to produce, but some experts aren’t thinking that specifically.
Will the Trucking Industry Move to Hydrogen Fuel?
Company experts like Bill Vass from Amazon Web Services say that in order for them to support hydrogen usage, it must cost less than diesel. Several CeraWeek panelists included this idea in their discussions as well. While there are opportunities for importing and exporting hydrogen, not every area in the United States has the ability to support hydrogen function in the same way. Other areas like the West Coast have more resources at their disposal and can use lower-emission production. High standards pushed by Oregon and California make it harder for trucking companies to operate without the necessary resources. If smaller trucking companies move toward hydrogen fuel, it will take longer for them to acquire the resources. Some experts also believe it is harder for the trucking industry to switch over to hydrogen, but it’s not impossible. The focus may shift toward building newer models to accommodate the use of hydrogen fuel. For now, the trucking industry is taking small steps to prepare for the fuel switch outlined in the Inflation Reduction Act.
How Does This Affect the Future Of Other Companies?
The IRA contains provisions that encourage more American purchases over other countries. This could affect America’s relationship with other countries if it violates the World Trade Rules. It may also affect diesel production, trading, and transportation. Trucking companies and those companies that depend on domestic freight shipping services should keep this in mind as they think about the future. While hydrogen fuel may speed up driving times and require fewer stops, it will take time to build the trucks required to use this new fuel source. Hydrogen can also help reduce emissions in these trucks, which can reduce the nation’s carbon footprint. There are positive and negative factors to consider. The important thing for companies to focus on is making the best decisions for their unique business.
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