Is Hydrogen an Alternative Fuel for Trucks

As time goes on, we need to stay more conscious of the environment. Something that truck drivers should consider is alternative fuel sources. If you’re a truck driver you may be wondering “is hydrogen an alternative fuel for trucks?” Hydrogen can be used as an alternative to fuel but it has not yet gone mainstream, keep reading to learn the full answer to “is hydrogen an alternative fuel for trucks”.

hydrogen fueling

What You Need to Know about Hydrogen as an Alternative Fuel for Trucks

Hydrogen fuel is most commonly used to launch NASA rockets. The byproduct of hydrogen is water that is clean enough for astronauts to drink. There are still some roadblocks when it comes to developing hydrogen which is why it’s not popular in use right now. 

What is Hydrogen Fuel 

Hydrogen is not an actual fuel like gasoline. The hydrogen “fuel” is actually a fuel cell. There is really no pure hydrogen on earth because it’s incredibly reactive. Most hydrogen is made from methane which is natural gas. Trying to recreate hydrogen can be done but it creates more greenhouse gases which is something we don’t want. You can make hydrogen via electrolysis. Electrolysis is when you run an electrical current into water and that current splits the water back into hydrogen and oxygen. Scientists are currently trying to find the cheapest and most efficient way to use this process. 

A hydrogen fuel cell is very similar to a battery. Hydrogen fuel cells typically only produce about 0.7 volts; when being used in cars they are stacked together to form a fuel cell system.  

Where Can I Find Hydrogen Fuel

Unfortunately since using hydrogen is such a new concept, there’s nowhere you can buy hydrogen like you can buy gas. If you wanted to use hydrogen for your truck, that’s likely something you’d have to talk to your trucking carrier about. 

There aren’t many trucking companies that use hydrogen as fuel yet. However, earlier this year the President of Volvo, Roger Alm, talked about how the use of hydrogen will be efficient for long-distance driving. Volvo also has started to test the use of hydrogen in their trucks and they plan for commercialization at the end of the decade.

Most of the hydrogen fuel refilling stations and vehicles are located in California. California is working ot have more zero emission vehicles and cleaner air by 2035. There are currently 48 hydrogen refueling stations in California and 1 in Hawaii. There are also 42 hydrogen fuel run busses in California. By 2025, California hopes to have 200 more hydrogen stations built and 1000 by 2030. With Calirfonia being one of the largest states with a huge driving population, hopefully they can achieve their goals. 

How is Hydrogen Fuel Better for the Environment

Hydrogen fuel-celled cars don’t emit greenhouse gases which makes them much better for the environment than normal fuel sources. These trucks can also refuel faster and drive farther than typical diesel-fueled trucks. In 2014, semi-trucks were found on average to get 7.2 MPG (miles per gallon). This is not a large upgrade from the 70s when trucks were found to only get about 5.6 MPG. There are a lot of things that impact a truck’s fuel usage like going up and down hills, how much the truck is towing, the wind, and more. 

When traveling uphill, a truck’s MPG can get as low as 2.9, which is incredibly expensive when you consider current gas prices. Diesel fuel engines are obviously different from a regular car engine and they are designed to run nonstop. Though they can run nonstop they shouldn’t. For every hour that a diesel engine idles, it burns a gallon of diesel fuel. You can imagine that a traffic jam would severely deplete your fuel in just a few hours. 


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