London — Global deployment of fuel cell electric vehicles powered by hydrogen could top 13 million by 2030 from current levels of around 16,000 as the market scales up and costs go down, according to the Hydrogen Council.
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Commercial fuel cell vehicles, including trucks, light commercial vehicles and buses, could meanwhile top 1 million from current levels of around 1,600 globally, the council said.
Hydrogen refueling stations also would exceed 10,000 by the end of the decade, up from 407 globally now, according to the council.
"All the stars are aligning to make this decade the hydrogen decade," Pierre-Etienne Franc, VP at Air Liquide, which is one of roughly 60 industry members of the Hydrogen Council, told S&P Global Platts late Thursday. "[Government] policies, industry members gathering, project deployments, technology progress, energy transition urgency and the unavoidable role of hydrogen as the energy vector for a clean world."
The Hydrogen Council projects renewable hydrogen production costs will fall 60% by 2030, given a 75% drop in the capital costs of electrolyzers, which are used to produce hydrogen from renewable energy sources.
Renewable hydrogen production costs are expected to fall below $3/kg by 2030 from current levels of around $6/kg.
Achieving those cost reductions would require technological innovations throughout the hydrogen value chain, according to Euisun Chung, Hyundai Motor Group's executive vice-chairman.
Hyundai's role in the hydrogen value chain is largely through the production of fuel cell vehicles, including the NEXO fuel cell car in California.
"In order to fully tap hydrogen's potential as the ultimate alternative to fossil fuel, new creative ways of lowering cost in a shorter time span must be sought across the entire value chain -- including production, storage, distribution and application," Chung said in a statement earlier in the week.
South Korea has an estimated 900 fuel cell electric vehicles, or 5% of the global fleet, according to S&P Global Platts Analytics data.
A Hydrogen Council report released this week noted several aspects of cost savings that will result from scaling up over time, including fourfold drop in costs for larger fuel cell electric vehicle refuelling stations, 50% drop in costs for scale up of compression centers and hydrogen trucking and 60% drop in investments needed for larger stations.
Zane McDonald, senior analyst for S&P Global Platts Analytics, said: "Hydrogen's flexibility as an energy carrier enables its use in a broad array of end uses, extending to: industrial heat, chemical feedstocks, oil refining, transportation, and residential/commercial heating."
"By diversifying low-carbon hydrogen use, we can begin to decarbonize some otherwise challenging sectors."