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Technical performance of HRS under high utilisation and recommendations

21/11/2021

If hydrogen is expected to play a significant role in transport, extensive and reliable networks of hydrogen refuelling stations are required.

Numerous governments across Europe have committed to limiting increases in global temperatures by achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. As part of this, there is a focus on reducing emissions in the transport sector which is estimated to be responsible for over 20% of Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Road transport is the largest emitter in the transport sector, with all European countries still heavily reliant on petrol and diesel vehicles. Transitioning to zero emission alternatives such as battery electric (BEV) and fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) is therefore vital in achieving Europe’s climate targets.

There is a growing consensus that FCEVs will play a significant role in the future transport sector as they can provide similar operational flexibility to petrol and diesel vehicles, with long ranges and quick refuelling times. The hydrogen used to power the vehicle can also be produced in large volumes through zero or low carbon production methods. When electrolysis is used, local or national energy systems can also benefit as hydrogen can be used to provide flexibility services for energy markets struggling with the variability of renewable energy supply.

However, hydrogen mobility is not yet fully commercialised . To date, 1,700 FCEV cars and vans are operational on roads in Europe and vehicles utilize a limited network of 140 hydrogen refuelling stations (HRS). Most deployments have required support from funded demonstration projects to overcome initial market barriers. This has helped evidence the readiness of the technology for further scale up, but further technology and market improvements are required before wide scale commercial roll out.

One key area requiring improvement is hydrogen refuelling infrastructure. An extensive network of hydrogen refuelling stations (HRS) will be required to allow unfettered movement of vehicles across Europe, and improvements in the performance of HRS need to be achieved to ensure infrastructure is well equipped for increasing demand and can satisfy the needs of end users with limited additional effort or compromise.

Overview of report D5.34:

  • This report aims to give an overview of the performance and utilisation of HRS in the H2ME project, providing insights into the specific challenges stations are facing with increasing demand.
  • Within the H2ME project, few stations are experiencing high utilisation as FCEV deployment in Europe has not developed as fast as forecast when the project was commissioned. Most stations are therefore relying on hydrogen demand created by the FCEVs deployed directly by H2ME, or other similar European or national projects.
  • This report is therefore not able to undertake a detailed analysis on the performance of stations under high utilisation. Until a greater number of stations are exposed to high usage, there is not sufficient data to draw clear conclusions on the relationship between utilisation and station performance, or to anonymise commercially sensitive data from HRS operators.
  • Instead, the report will outline some of the key performance and utilisation trends seen across the project. Case studies will also be presented on cities where HRS have begun to encounter moderate levels of utilisation (~20% to 40%) due to the deployment of high mileage fleet applications. Interviews with the associated stations operators will be used to outline some of the common issues faced when utilisation at a station is increased and key learnings will be used to form recommendations on the design and management of future HRS for high utilisation.
  • This is the first iteration of this report and will be updated numerous times throughout the H2ME initiative. Until more data on highly utilised stations becomes available, it is suggested that future iterations investigate approaches to improve the performance and the readiness of the technology for commercial roll out.

Read more here:

H2ME2-D5.34-Public-FV-Report 1-technical performance of HRS under high utilisation and recommendations (29 – 2018.09)
H2ME2-D5.35-Public-FV-Report 2-technical performance of HRS under high utilisation and recommendations (41 – 2019.09)
H2ME2-D5.36-Public-FV-Report 3-technical performance of HRS under high utilisation and recommendations (53 – 2020.09)
H2ME2-D5.37-Public-FV-Report 4-technical performance of HRS under high utilisation and recommendations (65 – 2021.09)
H2ME2-D5.38-Public-FV-Report 5-technical performance of HRS under high utilisation and recommendations (70 – 2022-02)

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