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Hydrogen-fuelled urban transit bus


Technology Description

Combusting hydrogen directly in an engine is an alternative use of hydrogen in transport, one that does not rely on fuel cells. Although less energy efficient than fuel cells today (40-50% efficiency for hydrogen engines vs. 50-60% for fuel cells), the hydrogen engine does not require rare materials like platinum and could represent a cost-effective solution. Hydrogen internal combustion engines may also offer transient behaviour that performs better and is easier to regulate than fuel cells. Over the longer term it could also reach up to 55% energy efficiency for trucks; as such it could be particularly suitable for heavy-duty applications. Safety, engine power density, and exhaust NOx emissions are however current challenges to the deployment of this technology. Research and development (at TRL 5-6) is currently underway to improve fuel efficiency, which is another key area of future development for this technology.

Relevance for Net Zero

The hydrogen engine does not require rare materials like platinum.
It could be a particularly well-adapted solution in extreme cold-weather applications in which fuel cells may encounter operational challenges and where heat loss from the engine would be useful for heating up the cabin. Moreover, internal combustion engines are less sensitive to hydrogen quality than fuel cells are.

Key Countries

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