Fleets in the Tees Valley Hydrogen Transport Hub area have been forecast to meet a third of demand the hub is set to face when it commences a five-year trial from 2025.
In late August, Cenex released, Preparing for Fuel Cell Vehicle Rollout: Trials, Analysis and Deployment Planning for Hydrogen Fleets, where it analysed fleet data from seven local operators to assess the potential opportunities for trialling and deploying hydrogen vehicles across the Tees Valley Region. This assessment involved 920 vehicles – 495 light commercial vehicles (LCVs) and 425 heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) – representing around 0.6% of the LCVs and 12% of the HGVs in the region.
If these vehicles were to be replaced with fuel cell electric vehicles, then it would generate an average hydrogen demand of 3,600kg – 29% of the 12,500kg of demand that is being projected for the Hydrogen Transport Hub by 2030. It found mapping demand from the vehicle locations showed 2,280kg, or 63% of it, is in a four-mile radius around the Port of Middlesbrough. With this area covering four of the seven fleets assessed, Cenex suggested this could be a good candidate location for hydrogen refuelling stations, supporting further operational trials across several applications.
It also undertook further analysis of the long-term advantages of hydrogen vehicles compared to battery electric options, especially when it comes to range. From this, it found fuel cell electric vehicles provide additional operational flexibility through an extra 65-265 miles of maximum range in contrast to their battery powered counterparts.
Looking to cost, it conceded the greater energy efficiency of fuel cell vehicles in comparison to diesel equivalents is offset by the current hydrogen public market price of £10/kg – leading to higher running costs for potential hydrogen replacement vehicles. If cost parity is to be achieved with diesel vehicles, it would take a 42% reduction on current levels to £5.80/kg. Fuel cost parity would be achieved with battery electric vehicles at £2.20/kg – a 72% reduction. It noted the Hydrogen Council is forecasting a 60% cost reduction of hydrogen by 2030 for the end user.
In terms of what’s next, to enable vehicle trials in the short to medium term, recommendations include developing and demonstrating suitable fuel cell vehicles to meet operational requirements; for infrastructure and hydrogen fuel supply for initial vehicle trials across several locations to be linked to clusters of early demand; for grant funding for the additional purchase cost of fuel cell vehicles; and for there to be assurances vehicles will be supported sufficiently to allow for fleet wide adoption, meaning serving, maintenance, warranty, workshop training and readiness, and education for the public are all in place.