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Five myths about hydrogen as a fuel

Oazer met Dr. Cecilia Wallmark, Director of the hydrogen initiative CH2ESS at Luleå University of Technology. Here she presents and answers the most common myths surrounding hydrogen.

1. The efficiency is too low.
Answer: It´s a question of what is being compared. If we take, for example, the efficiency of a fuel cell powered by hydrogen compared to gasoline in an internal combustion engine, the fuel cell by hydrogen wins. The main thing is to solve the climate challenge globally and the suppliers can make good business!

2. There are no commercial vehicles.
Answer: That is not true since there are cars for rent, even here in Sweden with monthly contracts for those who want! Many vehicle manufacturers have hydrogen powered vehicles in the pipeline, most of them have had demo cars for over 20 years to learn from.

3. Hydrogen is too dangerous.
Answer: Each fuel has its challenges. Both vehicles and hydrogen filling stations are built to minimize risks and vehicle manufacturers cannot risk their brands with vehicles that are inferior to previous models, which is a safety factor to keep in mind.

4. There are no hydrogen filling stations.
Answer: In Sweden alone, about 50 gas stations have been granted public money to build the stations in the next four years!

5. Hydrogen is always 10 years away.
Answer: Right now the climate challenge is being taken seriously and there is a great demand for technologies that can help solve this. It also turns out well with the fact that the components and systems needed for hydrogen are now ready to face the market.

Will hydrogen be important?
There are several good reasons why hydrogen will be needed in a renewable energy system. One reason is that unlike pure electricity, hydrogen can be stored. We will need energy storage capacity to supplement the renewable energy types such as wind and solar energy that do not have an even production throughout the day and year.

Other good reasons are that when used, hydrogen only produces electricity, heat and water as products. We can build value chains without emissions such as carbon dioxide, sulfur or nitrogen compounds. Hydrogen can also be produced locally, from, for example, renewable electricity or bio-based raw materials, which are well suited here in Sweden.