Skip to content

Expected Impacts on Greenhouse Gas and Air Pollutant Emissions Due to a Possible Transition Towards a Hydrogen Economy in German Road Transport


Transitioning German road transport partially to hydrogen energy is among the possibilities being discussed to help meet national climate targets. This study investigates impacts of a hypothetical, complete transition from conventionally-fuelled to hydrogen-powered German transport through representative scenarios. Our results show that German emissions change between −179 and +95 MtCO2eq annually, depending on the scenario, with renewable-powered electrolysis leading to the greatest emissions reduction, while electrolysis using the fossil-intense current electricity mix leads to the greatest increase. German energy emissions of regulated pollutants decrease significantly, indicating the potential for simultaneous air quality improvements. Vehicular hydrogen demand is 1000 PJ annually, requiring 446–525 TWh for electrolysis, hydrogen transport and storage, which could be supplied by future German renewable generation, supporting the potential for CO2-free hydrogen traffic and increased energy security. Thus hydrogen-powered transport could contribute significantly to climate and air quality goals, warranting further research and political discussion about this possibility.

Related subjects: Applications & Pathways
Countries: Germany

Article metrics loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error