Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) have been in one or another form present since 1851 and hydrogen fuel cells technology was invented in 1839. Hydrogen has been in a way already used as a fuel in 1970es. Attempts of hydrogen use for powering cars are noted even before stated date. Still the fossil fuel industry has been dominating the mobility for about 160 years.
|RES: renewable energy sources||H2: hydrogen||BEV: battery electric vehicles|
|V2G: vehicle to grid energy exchange||V2V: vehicle to vehicle energy exchange||V2H: vehicle to home energy exchange (or other type of building)|
|Generation of electricity||Generation of hydrogen (H2)|
|Electricity needs to be generated from RES or nuclear power.||Investments in RES have downsides (e. g. unstable source of energy, disruption of the landscapes, ecosystems, maintenance costs, limited life span). Nuclear power (e. g. radioactive waste, a potential safety risk, discharge of warm water into the rivers)||Using electric energy that would be wasted otherwise, to store it. There are a few ways of environmentally friendly production of H2. With polymer exchange membrane electrolysis method, the energy efficiency of hydrogen is 80% and it can be produced on site.||Energy losses producing H2 by renewable electrolysis are 30%|
|Can be home produced.||Additional investment, limited lifetime span, capacity reduction over time.||A high specific energy (aka energy per unit mass).||The production is too costly for the H2 to be home produced.|
|It can provide independency from the grid.||Can generate new investment costs.||By product of H2 production is heat that can be utilised.||The infrastructure for production of H2 needs to be set up.|
|The investment in the generation can be economically somewhat quickly “reimbursed” by cost difference in comparison to other sources of energy.||/||New technologies are being tested in terms of how and where the H2 can be generated.||The innovation needs additional resources.|
|The production of electric energy from RES is cheaper than H2 production.||/||/||On site production costs can be higher due to the lower volumes of production.|
|The cost of electricity is in comparison to hydrogen about 8 times cheaper||/||/||High cost of production.|
|Distribution of electricity||Distribution of hydrogen|
|The infrastructure of electric network already exists.||To reduce energy losses in the grid it is better that the network of cables is put into the ground, which is costly.||Distribution of H2 can be done by vehicle, through pipe system or the H2 can be produced on site.||The infrastructure needs to be set up, which is time consuming and costly.|
|Energy loss in distribution can be minimised by ground cable network.||Losses are made in electricity distribution through the grid from 5% up to 30%.||/||The distribution of hydrogen through pipelines results in 10% up to 40% of energy loss.|
|/||/||/||If the production of hydrogen is made off site the transport costs, transport emissions and energy loss need to be calculated in the price of hydrogen.|
|/||/||/||The distribution of H2 by vehicle has several downsides (costly, energy consuming, special vehicle needed, limited capacity …)|
|Storing electric energy||Storing hydrogen|
|No special conditions, except space for the batteries.||Production of batteries and natural resources needed – somewhat limited resources, materials of the components.||The fact that it can be stored.||Special conditions for storing H2 (low, stable temperatures, space)|
|The battery in the vehicle can be a storage system.||Life span of the batteries is limited. The life span of the battery reduces with each energy exchange event and is influenced by the power/speed of charging.||/||Storing H2 is more expensive than storing electric energy.|
|Possibility to set up a storage system at home.||Investment of time, money and knowledge.||/||Limited utility in terms of storage and use compared to electricity.|
|Storing system (battery) is relatively easy to install.||Additional investment that might not pay off for households financially.||/||To store the hydrogen as gas the cost is additional 13% of energy loss; liquefying hydrogen loses 40% of initial energy, including the weight of refrigerators and refrigeration itself.|
|The electrical energy storage system (battery) is useful for maintaining the stability of the electrical grid load.||/||/||The infrastructure needs to be set up.|
|Recyclable||Additional resources||No need|
|Opportunity for a business and value for the owner||/||/||/|
|Availability and cost of setting up the infrastructure||Availability and cost of setting up the infrastructure|
|It has been much easier to set up charging stations for charging electric vehicles connecting them to the grid.||Need for the increased grid capacity in some cases.||/||In most countries the filling stations are scarce.|
|Lower investment needed for setting up the infrastructure for charging BEVs than H2 vehicles.||/||/||Setting up the infrastructure is costly.|
|The cost of manufacturing the vehicle||The cost of manufacturing the vehicle|
|Lower price of manufacturing than H2 vehicles. Multiple use of 1 car platform to lower the production cost.||Weight of the batteries.||No additional weight from the batteries.||For now, for hydrogen cars the costs are too high to reach the demand that would initiate higher scale of offer.|
|/||High investments in technological development.||/||High investments in technological development.|
|/||/||/||The cost of production of H2 vehicles is more expensive than the production of BEV.|
|Use of batteries||Tank|
|They can be used for V2G or V2V or V2H.||/||Longevity||Special and expensive technology|
|Second life of the batteries.||Limited life span and in time reduced capacity of use.||/||The process of conversion of H2 to electricity with pure hydrogen uses additional 40% of energy, resulting in 60% energy efficiency from a tank.|
|Vehicle charging||Vehicle filling|
|Cheap slow charging.||Relatively expensive fast charging, but still slower than filling H2.||Fast filling possible.||The cost of H2 is in comparison to electricity about 8 times more expensive.|
|BEVs can be charged at home.||Depending on the use of the vehicle, it takes time and planning to charge BEVs||Easy and safe filling.||Not suitable for home filling.|
|The battery charging efficiency is 99%||The battery charging efficiency reduces in time and the usual recommended charging/use is around 60 to 70% of the battery capacity – between 20% and 80%.||No reduction of filling capacity.||A need for a sufficient and functional infrastructure.|
|Easy charging.||Charging payment options not as easy as people are used to for fossil fuel.||Charging payment options can be the same as people are used to for fossil fuel.||/|
|/||At charging parks, the maximum charging power per vehicle may be reduced depending on the number of vehicles being charged at the charging stations at the same time.||/||The supply of H2 has to be sufficient to service the demand.|
|/||The stop at a public charging point can be extended for the charging time of another vehicle(s) – the formation of queues.||Queues as per filling a fossil fuel vehicle.||/|
|Autonomy km||Autonomy km|
|It is improving.||Somewhat low autonomy rage on one charge. The capacity of the battery/range influences the price of the vehicle.||Longer range in comparison to BEVs’ autonomy on one charge, especially for heavy vehicles.||/|
|General use||General use|
|Relatively safe use.||Special treatment of burning vehicles.||Safe use||The number of passenger cars models is scarce.|
|Works well for ultra-light and light airplanes, small and semi large boats, ferries, buses.||Not very suitable for heavy vehicles (cargo or passenger airplanes, big boats – cruise ships, …)||An ideal potential fuel for powering heavy vehicles, such as planes, boats, trucks and similar, military vehicles||Expensive – double or triple the cost of BEVs (e. g. busses).|
|/||/||It’s taking up in the segment of buses and HDV||Infrastructure in all segments needs to be set up.|
|/||The losses of energy are also when charging batteries and due to leakage of batteries, this may amount to around 30% of energy losses.||/||The losses for hydrogen can in total, depending on different factors, be up to 56%|
|/||/||Fuel cells and electric motor efficiency is around 90-95%.||The conversion from AC current to DC current represents losses also for hydrogen in terms to DC current from fuel cells being converted to AC current powering the motor.
If you have additional information, pros and cons for the two power sources and the connected infrastructure and vehicles, do not hesitate to send us your comments via e-HUB on-line communication tool.
Basic information about hydrogen – H2
Hydrogen is an invisible natural gas that is the most abundant chemical element, but very rare in gaseous form.
Hydrogen can be produced from a variety of sources, such as natural gas, nuclear power, biogas, and renewable energy such as solar and wind. The challenge is to exploit hydrogen as a gas on a large scale for fuel in transport, for household and industrial use.
In the energy industry, color codes are used to define the way hydrogen is produced. There is no official universal nomenclature for the different types of hydrogen and the color definition may change in the future.
Color definition of hydrogen according to the production method and consequences:
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