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The Market Introduction of Hydrogen Focussing on Bus Refueling


Public transport plays a prominent role with respect to mitigating transport-related environmental effects by improving passenger transport efficiency and the quality of life in cities. Batteries and fuel cells are at the forefront of the technological shift to zero-emission powertrains. Within the scope of the German-funded project BIC H2, corresponding systems analysis research focuses on the market introduction of fuel cell–electric buses in the Rhine–Ruhr Metropolitan Region through 2035. This study presents the related methods and major outcomes of this techno-economic research, which spans spatially-resolved hydrogen demand modeling of all relevant sectors, to hydrogen refueling stations and upstream infrastructure modeling, to scenario-based analyses. The latter builds upon an empirical study supporting the development of the Hydrogen Roadmap of the State of North Rhine–Westphalia (NRW). Our results show that the demand in NRW alone is expected to account for one third of total German hydrogen use. Hydrogen bus refueling could substantially support market introduction during its early phases. In the long term, however, hydrogen demand in industry is significantly higher compared to that in the transport sector. Furthermore, spatial analysis identifies regions with pronounced hydrogen demands that could, therefore, be candidates for initial infrastructure investments. With the Cologne area showing the highest hydrogen demand levels, such regions can offer particularly high infrastructure utilization, e.g., for bus refueling. On the infrastructure side, trailers for transporting gaseous hydrogen to refueling stations are the most favorable option through 2035. Pipelines would be the preferred solution soon after 2035 due to increased hydrogen demand. If effectively deployed, converted natural gas pipelines would be the most cost-effective option even earlier.

Funding source: The authors gratefully acknowledge funding by the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) within the Project “BIC H2—Beschaffung und Einsatz einer Groβflotte von Brennstoffzellen-Hybridbussen für den OPNV ¨ und Einrichtung einer entsprechenden H2-Infrastruktur in der Region Koln ¨ ” (FKZ 03B10201E). This work was also supported by the Helmholtz Association under the Joint Initiative “Energy System Integration”.
Related subjects: Applications & Pathways
Countries: Germany

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