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    Manufacturing and technologies

    The fuel cell

    In the field of road haulage, the use of hydrogen, for example in conjunction with the fuel cell or in the piston engine, is one way of making the propulsion of commercial vehicles completely climate-neutral – and providing the hauler with a highly efficient means of transport.

    In the field of road haulage, the use of hydrogen, for example in conjunction with the fuel cell or in the piston engine, is one way of making the propulsion of commercial vehicles completely climate-neutral – and providing the hauler with a highly efficient means of transport.

    Promoting investment in the technology

    The idea of powering cars with hydrogen and fuel cells existed 50 years ago. Now an alliance of commercial vehicle manufacturers and energy companies wants to help the technology achieve a breakthrough. But there are still a few obstacles to overcome. 

    One major challenge at present is the production of green hydrogen, because its industrial production requires the simultaneous global expansion of renewable power generation. Currently, most hydrogen is produced from natural gas. The goal must be to achieve complete "zero-emission mobility" using renewable energies and sustainable processes. For this reason, there must be a greater focus on the production and promotion of green hydrogen over the coming years. This requires a commitment on the part of policymakers, a judicial framework that allows investment in the necessary technologies, and start-up financing through statutory purchase quotas. Only in this way can the use of hydrogen in road transport hope to succeed.

    At the same time, the distribution network for hydrogen must be further expanded. We welcome the European Commission's draft "Fit for 55" package, which contains proposals in this respect.

    Promoting climate-neutral road haulage

    Especially in the field of road haulage, the use of hydrogen, for example in conjunction with the fuel cell or in the piston engine, is one way of making the propulsion of commercial vehicles completely climate-neutral and providing the hauler with a highly efficient means of transport. The use of hydrogen in fuel cells in trucks and buses allows a flexibility and performance comparable to conventionally powered trucks and buses.

    The green hydrogen necessary and its current lack of availability on the one hand, the lack of refueling options for trucks and buses on the other, and the cost of fuel cells are currently limiting factors for the widespread introduction of this technology. A core network of hydrogen refueling stations therefore needs to be established for road freight transportation in the near future.

    To do justice to this, around 300 hydrogen filling stations suitable for trucks are to be set up in Europe by 2025 (85 of these in Germany) and at least 1,000 such stations in Europe (300 in Germany) by 2030 at the latest. Hydrogen refueling stations for commercial vehicles (trucks and buses) should have a minimum daily capacity of at least six tons of hydrogen with at least two refueling points per station. The technical specifications and targets should be reviewed in 2025 and adjusted if necessary.

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