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First hydrogen fuel cell vehicles on Irish roads by 2023

According to a new report, hydrogen cars, buses and trucks can become a reality by 2023. It declares that this would have the potential for over 35,000 hydrogen vehicles on our roads within a decade. It calculates that this would remove approximately 300,000 tonnes of CO2 from our atmosphere every year.

These are among the findings of the first ever published research into the potential for hydrogen to help solve Ireland’s green house gas emissions from transport. The authors claim that this report provides the Irish Government with a potential roadmap to assist the decarbonisation of Irish transport.

Transport accounts for approximately 20 per cent of Ireland’s total greenhouse gasses and is by far the largest source of energy-related CO2 emissions in Ireland. In 2017 it was responsible for 39 per cent, and it is also the sector where CO2 emissions are growing the fastest.

Hydrogen is a very low carbon fuel and will be produced locally in Ireland. Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles consume hydrogen as a fuel to produce electrical power for the vehicle, with water vapour the only by-product.

They can complement battery electric vehicles as they offer greater range and faster refuelling, can be used at short notice, and are particularly suitable for heavy passenger and goods vehicles.

A group called Hydrogen Mobility Ireland (HMI) has formed to address bringing hydrogen transport to Ireland, which consists of leading transport and energy companies along with policy stakeholders and representatives of other hydrogen initiatives.

They have set forward the business case and rationale for both the private sector and Government to support the provision of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

The report found that Ireland should follow the lead of countries like China, US and Japan who have committed to each having in the region of one million hydrogen fuel cell vehicles by 2030.

HMI says that among the findings was agreement that the Government should apply similar incentives to hydrogen fuel cell vehicles as they do to battery electric vehicles currently.

Hydrogen vehicles will be cost-competitive with conventional fuel vehicles by mid next decade. Buses, vans and taxis could be deployed as the catalyst for market establishment.

The report also recommended building clusters of refuelling stations to give early adopters confidence
It suggests that a first deployment project involving two hydrogen production sources and three refuelling stations are presented. This can be done at a cost of €34 million, and will require €14m of funding from Government.

By 2030, a network of 76 stations would ensure that 50 per cent of the population of the island would live in a town with a hydrogen refuelling station as well as providing adequate coverage of major roads, while a network of 27 electrolysers collocated with renewable generators (mostly wind farms) would supply the hydrogen fuel
In a positive adoption scenario this will lead to a national fuel call fleet of 2,000 HGVs, 880 bus/coaches, 6,800 vans and 29,000 cars by 2030.

Hydrogen could abate 300,000 tonnes CO2 annually (2% of transport emissions) with the potential for this to significantly increase in the 2030s. The cost of this abatement would be between €75-100/tonne.