THP-E280: Hydrogen Transportation Is In The News And I Am Excited. Find Out Why!

Paul Rodden • Season: 2024 • Episode: 280

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Welcome to The Hydrogen Podcast!

In episode 280, CES 2024 is full of hydrogen tech. Are we witnessing the hydrogen revolution in the US right now? The Federal Highway Administration seems to think so I’ll go over this exciting news and give my thoughts on today’s hydrogen podcast.

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Paul Rodden



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CES 2024 is full of hydrogen tech. Are we witnessing the hydrogen revolution in the US right now? The Federal Highway Administration seems to think so I’ll go over this exciting news and give my thoughts on today’s hydrogen podcast. So the big questions in the energy industry today are, how is hydrogen the primary driving force behind the evolution of energy? Where’s capital being deployed for hydrogen projects globally? And where are the best investment opportunities for early adopters who recognize the importance of hydrogen? I will address the critical issues and give you the information you need to deploy capital. Those are the questions that will unlock the potential of hydrogen, and this podcast will give you the answers. My name is Paul Rodden, and welcome to hydrogen projects. In an article in TechCrunch, Harri Weber and Sean O’Kane writes Hydrogen is back. At least, CES 2024 suggests it is. Hydrogen has been presented by automakers and politicians as an alternate clean energy option for electric vehicles. But it’s never really caught on don’t tell anyone at CES 2024 them, as this year’s show floor was littered with vehicles of all sizes that our hydrogen powered. There has been so much focus on battery powered electric vehicles over the last few years that it seemed like hydrogen might be left in the proverbial dust. So is hydrogen power about to experience a comeback? Or is it yet another example of companies making promises at CES they won’t be able to keep? Let’s start by looking at what was at the show this year. Perhaps no company is more married to hydrogen power than Nikola the trucking startup was founded around the idea of a big rig with a fuel cell and its former CEO Trevor Milton went on to great lengths to the point of criminal fraud charges to promote it. Nikola has spent the last few years trying to build itself anew with Milton in the rear view. In order to do that, the startup put off the hydrogen truck in favor of an all electric version who just started shipping in 2021. At CES, Nikola finally showed off one of its first US built hydrogen trucks that it’s starting to ship to customers. If there’s a future where a reimagined Nikola helped usher the proliferation of hydrogen powered trucks. This is where that begins. Another startup at the Vegas show Croft motors is developing rugged hydrogen powered vehicles. The firm is starting with a three row prototype SUV with an anticipated 1000 miles of driving range. co founder Isaac Holeman told TechCrunch Holeman believes the recent slowdown in battery electric vehicle adoption has made it the right time to reignite that conversation about hydrogens potential. Croft is also developing a refrigerator sized device that splits water into hydrogen and oxygen. This is electrolysis. And Holeman argued that distributed fueling products such as Croft’s will enable rapid hydrogen vehicle adoption. Far from the other end of the spectrum well established automaker Hyundai also appears to be embracing hydrogen in a new way. The Korean automaker has spent decades working on hydrogen powered vehicles and says the tech will play a prominent role and the Hyundai group’s attempt to become a carbon neutral company by 2050. What that looks like involves not just the attempt at popularizing cars and SUVs that run on hydrogen. But doing the same for all of the heavy duty vehicles it makes and excise these construction vehicles are too big and require too much energy to run on battery power. Instead, the firm argues hydrogen makes more sense as a clean energy source. It’s worth noting that HD Hyundai, a construction equipment refinery and shipping conglomerate that spun out of a parent company in 2002. Had one of the larger displays at CES 2024. In a quote from Dongwook Lee, president of HD Hyundai. Our goal is to build up an entire hydrogen energy ecosystem across the whole of the Earth from ocean to land. He said Hyundai wants to incorporate hydrogen power into everything it makes from shipbuilding to construction machinery and that it wants to create production and storage solutions as well. And in a quote from Chang Hwan Kim who oversees fuel cell and battery development at Hyundai. It’s already part of our short term roadmap to commercialize alternative clean hydrogen production methods. The executive said Hyundai is working to turn quote sewage sludge and other forms of organic waste into clean hydrogen suppliers are invested to Bosch which already makes hydrogen fuel cells like the ones Nicola uses and its truck announced it will make an engine that can combust hydrogen, skipping the process, where that energy gets converted to electricity and stored in a battery. Truck builder PACCAR was also at the show with two of its newest hydrogen powered trucks. One under the Kenworth brand and one Peterbilt. The company said this week it has received more than 150 paid deposits for hydrogen trucks across those two brands and expects them to ship next year. And channeling Vegas more than the others. South Korean energy manufacturing giant SK Group attempted to hype its hydrogen and AI business via a theme park of sorts at CES. The rides included a small train capable of being powered by hydrogen energy and an AI fortuneteller. There’s political will and money, federal investments in green hydrogen and refueling infrastructure. Two big obstacles to widespread adoption, are giving hydrogen fuel cell vehicles a boost. That’s crucial since nearly all hydrogen fuel is produced with hydrocarbons today. And there’s currently little infrastructure to keep hydrogen fuel cell vehicles running, whether there are passenger cars or heavy duty trucks. For one the 2022 bipartisan infrastructure law put nine and a half billion dollars towards quote clean hydrogen initiatives to create hydrogen production hubs across the US some of these hubs will create green hydrogen, Via renewable energy and electrolysis hydrogen transport is also getting a lift from the same legislation that incentivizes battery electric vehicle sales. Alongside the EV tax credit. The inflation Reduction Act created a hydrogen production credit, which offers producers as much as $3 A kilogram to offset the higher costs associated with clean hydrogen production. As part of the IRA the Federal Highway Administration announced during although not at CES hundreds of millions of dollars for new charging and fueling infrastructure, with a huge chunk of it going to hydrogen. There’s also corporate interest from the oil and gas industry, which puts 10s of millions of dollars towards hydrogen lobbying efforts. In the first three quarters of 2023. For example, shell BP, Chevron and Exxon Mobil are all members of a lobbying group called the clean hydrogen future coalition. Despite the tiny name, the group argues that hydrocarbons such as natural gas should play a role in the clean hydrogen ecosystem. When paired with carbon capture tech. The trouble is, methane chronically leaks along the supply chain, and though the gas doesn’t stick around long in the atmosphere, it’s 80 times more potent at warming than carbon dioxide. This according to the UN. While those corporate and political interest hydrogen powered vehicles remain relatively scarce, the reasons are complex, but the lack of infrastructure is a critical one. For one, the US energy grid already exists although ancient, it’s the backbone supporting 10s of 1000s of EV stations across the country. hydrogen refueling stations on the other hand, are a lot harder to come by. Another reason is waste. hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are generally less efficient than battery electric vehicles. According to Gregory Keoleian, who co-directs Sustainable Systems and MI Hydrogen at the University of Michigan. Around 30% of the energy required for electrolysis is lost. And further losses come from transporting, compressing and converting hydrogen back into electricity via a fuel cell. He says so if you have limited renewable electricity, putting it in a battery vehicle is going to be much more effective to decarbonize. And yet, as Hyundai Nikola and other hydrogen focus firms argue the advantages of battery electric vehicles aren’t as pronounced in areas such as trucking, medium duty vehicles and air travel. That’s because EV batteries are many times heavier than fuel cells, then they take hours to fully recharge. Refueling a hydrogen powered vehicle, on the other hand, is about as time consuming as filling up a conventional gas tank. The catch is companies need to actually make the fuel affordable and accessible without prolonging the dependence on hydrocarbons. Production and distribution remains one of the biggest bottlenecks this according to Niklas Wahlberg, head of Partnerships and System Solutions at Volvo. He says interest in the energy source is growing. Hydrogen is becoming more and more of a tangible alternative, he says. And while Nikola became something of a bad poster child for hydrogen power of the last few years, Wahlberg says he doesn’t think that really set the industry back. He says of course there will be companies who have difficulties, things are progressing very well. And this is an area that we and others are very, very keen on developing. Okay, so as many longtime listeners know, I’ve been bullish on hydrogen fuel cell vehicles from the beginning. So news like this makes me very happy. One point that this article briefly touches on is the $635 million to push alternative fuels from the Federal Highway Association, a large portion of which will be devoted to building out hydrogen and EV refueling infrastructure, with 70 million being sent to Texas to develop five hydrogen filling stations in the Texas triangle, that being the geographic region connecting Dallas Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio, and Houston. Now, this infrastructure is targeting heavy duty transportation, and rightfully so, as that is how we develop widescale hydrogen infrastructure. But another reason why I get excited about news like this is because this is a prime way to increase adoption of hydrogen in other industries. One reason investment holds off is the risk associated with obtaining hydrogen and securing long term contracts. As infrastructure develops, that risk decreases. Now, obviously, we don’t have a timeline for this or any information on who will be supplying the hydrogen to the facilities. But this is exciting news nevertheless. I said it before, and I’ll say it again, 2024 is going to be a big year for all of us interested, and hydrogen. Alright, that’s it for me, everyone. If you have a second, I would really appreciate it. If you could leave a good review on whatever platform it is that you listen to Apple podcast, Spotify, Google, YouTube, whatever it is, that would be a tremendous help to the show. And as always, if you ever have any feedback, you’re welcome to email me directly at So until next time, keep your eyes up and honor one another. Hey, this is Paul. I hope you liked this podcast. If you did and want to hear more. I’d appreciate it if you would either subscribe to this channel on YouTube, or connect with your favorite platform through my website at Thanks for listening. I very much appreciate it. Have a great day.