Hydrogen vehicles will be on the road sooner than expected. Technology giant Bosch recently announced a €1 billion investment in new technology, with the clear goal of putting hydrogen lorries on European highways in the near future.
As the world has spent the last two weeks watching COP26 discuss the future of power, technology giant Bosch has identified hydrogen as a huge new trend. According to its research, the European Union market for green hydrogen will be worth more than €40 billion by 2030, with annual growth rates of 65 percent.
Fuel cells use hydrogen to generate electricity, and Bosch is working on both stationary and mobile fuel-cell solutions.
Bosch plans to invest one billion euros in fuel-cell technology between 2021 and 2024, and estimates that the market for mobile fuel-cell components will be worth around €18 billion by the end of the decade.
As many companies look to transition away from fossil fuels and toward alternative energy sources, Bosch is hoping to develop the next generation of hydrogen vehicles.
The primary focus will be on developing fuel cells for use in vans and trucks.
Bosch is focusing on HGVs (Heavy Goods Vehicles) and believes hydrogen will have a good use-case in refuse trucks and buses, with a few hydrogen buses already in use in some parts of Europe.
They hope to have HGV hydrogen vehicles in production next year, with their hydrogen fuel cell components, and have already partnered with five different projects across Europe.
According to a company spokesman, Bosch has already set its eyes on major transportation routes throughout Europe:
“You can drive a hydrogen car from northern Germany to southern Italy today. There are already a few stations, but the goal is to have one at each major connecting point. New locations are being planned, particularly in major cities. It is a slow process that must be followed step by step.”
The old argument that if there are no vehicles, no one will invest in thousands of refuelling stations, is becoming a thing of the past.
“You don’t need the fueling stations if you don’t have hydrogen vehicles. We already have a good number of fueling stations in developed areas of Europe, so it is time to develop hydrogen vehicles. There are 100 refuelling stations for hydrogen vehicles in Germany, and the next step will be 400 by the middle of the century. When a sufficient number of hydrogen vehicles starts operating, we will probably go to another phase of refuelling station development” – predicts the company.
A new source of energy will be used not only to power hydrogen vehicles, but also to power boilers that heat homes and mini power stations that can provide energy to communal spaces.
The transition to hydrogen power was emphasized prominently in Spain’s Recovery Plan, but only one hydrogen factory has been planned so far. The primary focus of “green” investment is on solar and wind parks, with hydrogen being reserved for the “next phase,” when hydrogen plants can be powered by clean energy from renewable sources.