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    Electromobility

    Hydrogen for heavy-duty traffic

    Hydrogen drives are key to mastering the energy transition. Only this technology enables heavy vehicles to cover longer distances. Now fuel cells need to be industrialized and the filling station network expanded.

    Hydrogen drives are key to mastering the energy transition. Only this technology enables heavy vehicles to cover longer distances. Now fuel cells need to be industrialized and the filling station network expanded.

    Optimal energy storage

    To master the energy transition, we must be able to store and transform renewable energy efficiently. Fossil hydrocarbons must be gradually replaced by regenerative alternatives. Hydrogen can be generated cleanly from renewable energies and can be stored in large quantities, enabling a separate generation and use of energy both spatially and temporally.

    Hydrogen as an energy carrier is not only available for transport, but can also be used in other industrial sectors and for generating heat in households. Green hydrogen not only forms the basis for a sustainable refinery and hydrocracking processes, an indispensable storage medium for volatile renewable electricity and an enabler for sector coupling, because hydrogen is needed in industry, in the heat and energy sector, and in transportation.

    To achieve the CO₂ fleet targets for 2025 and 2030, all vehicle manufacturers are prioritizing BEVs in the passenger car sector. However, fuel cells remain in the automotive industry's field of vision, because their use makes it possible to cover long distances safely with a small battery compared to a battery-electric vehicle. Hydrogen propulsion will therefore play an important role in those automotive applications that can thus far only be covered by internal combustion engines, especially in heavy-duty traffic.

    Fuel cells: Room for expansion

    In the meantime, several mass-production vehicles are on the road and in a number of demonstration projects. Above all, hydrogen and fuel cells technology is also suitable for heavy vehicles that travel longer distances. Several major cities are also currently demonstrating clearly that hydrogen as a fuel for local public transport is a clean solution to the high levels of particulate matter, exhaust gas, and noise pollution that frequently occur in conurbations. The industrialization of fuel cells and storage systems remains a particular challenge.

    Fuel cells are advantageous due to the small need for raw materials (only Pt, >97% recyclable). Currently, the hydrogen tanking network numbers 91 stations. In the medium and long term, however, work must be done on developing a dense trans-European H₂ refueling station network that serves both cars and trucks, while providing liquid H₂ in addition to compressed hydrogen. This requires strengthening joint European initiatives such as "H2 Mobility Europe".

    However, hydrogen is not only important in the transportation sector, but also in the energy, industry, and power sectors. Therefore, the development of an efficient hydrogen production and infrastructure stretching from the highway to private households remains an overall necessity.

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