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What Is Fueling The Move To Hydrogen In Cars And Trucks?

UPS and Annheuser Busch are adding hydrogen trucks to their fleets. Getting the fuel onsite varies. Some companies are retrofitting regular gas stations to make hydrogen on site. Others have to have it trucked in.

The global hydrogen powered transport market is expected to reach $20 billion by 2025. That's $17 billion more than 2021, according to ResearchandMarkets.com. What is driving this trend? And what kind of vehicles is it targeting?

For long-haul trucks and ride-sharing services with no time to charge a battery, hydrogen seems to be the cleaner and greener solution.

What's Happening?

Already Saudi Arabia is trying to position itself as the the green global hub with construction of a $5 billion plant powered by the wind and sun. It plans to export hydrogen beginning in 2025.

Germany and Canada are exploring green hydrogen development jointly and Japanese companies are expanding hydrogen fueling infrastructure after recent deregulation.

Why is there so much interest in hydrogen? And are there enough vehicles and fuel to make it work?

The Vehicles

Nikola makes fuel-cell tractor trailers and Hyundai, Toyota and BMW all make cars powered by hydrogen. In addition, 11 companies, including Hyundai, Toyota and Shell have announced they have teamed up to promote the use of hydrogen.

UPS and Anheuser Busch already have hydrogen-powered trucks.

The Fuel

The CEO of PowerTap Hydrogen Fueling Corporation Raghu Kilambi explains why it makes sense to bring hydrogen in, when his company has the technology to make it on site.

"We use a technology called steam methane reformation which takes renewable natural gas and converts it along with water into hydrogen," says Kilambi. "It's similar but different to pumping gas; and what's the advantages over battery electric vehicles? It could take an hour to recharge your battery electric vehicle. It takes about five minutes to fill up a hydrogen car."

It will take a little longer for a truck, about 30 minutes.

PowerTap plans to start rolling out its technology later this year at 500 gas stations, mostly out west. It has partnered with Michael and Mario Andretti's gas stations.

Until that time, there are only 70 hydrogen gas stations in the U.S., compared to 25,000 battery electric vehicle stations.

Ann Thompson has decades of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting.