Hydrogen Isn’t the Fuel of the Future. It’s Already Here.

By Jean-Louis Kindler posted 03-27-2021 02:57 PM


As part of global efforts to combat climate change and dramatically reduce global emissions, there is a lot of talk about the potential of hydrogen to replace fossil fuels at some future time. But the fact is, hydrogen is already being used for clean mobility, power generation and other applications. Hydrogen is already happening now.


Get on the Hydrogen Train, Plane, Bus and more!

Alstom, a European transportation company, has built a regional passenger hydrogen traincalled the Coradia iLint and is currently undergoing its testing phase in Lower Austria. The company has already successfully demonstrated the technology in Germany and the Netherlands where it’s most recent testing saw the Coradia iLint carry passengers over a 65 kilometer stretch from between Groningen and Leeuwarden to the north of the Netherlands.

Airbus recently unveiled prototypes of a new line of hydrogen-fueled aircraft that includes a passenger airliner, a prop-boosted plane, and a blended wing aircraft. The company said it could take several years for these planes to start flying commercially.
A smaller rival, ZeroAvia, is developing a hydrogen fuel-cell airplane that completed a successful test flight last week north of London. The six-seater Piper M-Class aircraft, which was retrofitted with a fuel cell and a powertrain, completed a taxi, take-off, full pattern circuit and landing.


 And earlier this month, a consortium of companies called H2Bus, announced plans to deploy 1,000 hydrogen fuel cell buses, with fueling infrastructure, in cities across Europe. The consortium which includes Nel, Ballard Power Systems, Hexagon Composites, Wrightbus, Ryse Hydrogen and Everfuel Europe, says the buses will be priced below 375,000 euros, the hydrogen fuel will be priced between 5 and 7 euros per kilogram and the service cost will be 0.25 to 0.35 euro per kilometer, depending on operator and route requirements.

You might have seen or even ridden in a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle without even realizing it. In the San Francisco Bay Area, AC Transit has been deploying zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell buses since 2006 and has grown its fleet to include over 20 hydrogen fueled buses. AC Transit mainly covers Alameda and Contra Costa counties, the East Bay communities in the Bay Area.


One of the great benefits of fueling public transportation with clean, renewable hydrogen (hydrogen made from clean sources instead of fossil fuels like natural gas) is that the only emissions are water and air.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom  called for the end of gasoline-fueled vehicles in the state by 2035. To reach that goal, we’ll need to integrate more hydrogen fuel cell vehicles - electric battery vehicles can’t do it alone.


The U.S. transportation sectors generate almost 30% of all carbon emissions. Another 27% comes from power generation. Hydrogen is a great option for power generation, both for onsite power and to replace natural gas at larger plants.

Hydrogen fuel cell power generator maker Bloom Energy announced it has completed two hydrogen-fueled power plants in South Korea, one with nearly 20 MW of capacity and the other 8 MW in size.

Renewable hydrogen produced from waste biomass as well as Municipal Solid Waste is uniquely positioned to address these issues and the waste and plastic crisis. Solar panels and wind turbines are great and we need all the renewable energy we can get, but while the sun doesn’t always shine and the wind doesn’t always blow, we can produce hydrogen from waste 24/7.

We are well on our way to building a robust and thriving global hydrogen ecosystem. Now, it is increasingly important to keep investing in and building hydrogen infrastructure and increasing awareness about this clean, alternative energy source.