Don C. Brunell is a business analyst, writer and columnist. He recently retired as president of the Association of Washington Business, the state’s oldest and largest business organization, and now lives in Vancouver. He can be contacted at thebrunells@msn.com.

Don C. Brunell is a business analyst, writer and columnist. He recently retired as president of the Association of Washington Business, the state’s oldest and largest business organization, and now lives in Vancouver. He can be contacted at thebrunells@msn.com.

Hydrogen gains momentum as replacement fuel for trucks | Brunell

In the coming decade, European Union leaders are investing heavily in hydrogen fuel research, believing it is a key to eliminating CO2 discharges from vehicles.

One new technology is called pyrolysis. It is hoped the technology will allow Europeans to pipe hydrogen much like natural gas now travels long distances across country and under water.

Hydrogen created by pyrolysis is an adaptation of an industrial process developed over the years. It was designed to remove CO2 from the process creating charred wood and organic matter.

Currently, 95 percent of all hydrogen used in commercial vehicles comes from methane production where CO2 is released into the atmosphere. Greenhouse gas-free hydrogen can be produced by electrolysis using electricity from wind and solar farms, nuclear plants and hydroelectric powerhouses.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the transportation sector has dominated the growth in U.S. carbon dioxide emissions since 1990, accounting for 69 percent of the total increase.

President Joe Biden is actively looking for alternatives to natural gas, gasoline and diesel. Replacing gasoline with batteries in autos and trucks is on top of his agenda. Here’s hoping he will include hydrogen.

European leaders are banking on hydrogen fuel technologies to lead the way. A big chunk of the European Union’s $13.3 billion climate initiative centers on hydrogen.

For truckers, hydrogen offers an effective alternative to batteries. Drivers “fuel up” faster and supporting equipment installed in trucks is lighter and more compact. It can also be stored indefinitely with zero energy loss.

Other key drawbacks of battery electric vehicles have been driving range, lengthy charging times and recycling of spent batteries, many of which end up in landfills. Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, on the other hand, can cover similar distances while dramatically saving total trip times.

Developing hydrogen into a commercially viable fuel takes money — lots of it.

The Hydrogen Council, whose 60-members represent total revenues of nearly $2.9 trillion and close to 4.2 million jobs, joined forces with European Investment Bank to finance hydrogen projects. The council believes those projects will require $20 billion to $25 billion in annual investments during the next decade.

Many automakers are investing heavily in hydrogen. Hyundai, the South Korean auto giant, already is devoting $6.3 billion to fuel cell technology and plans to ramp up production from 3,000 units per year to 40,000 units by 2022.

Washington-based truck manufacturer Kenworth is developing 10 zero-emissions Kenworth T680s powered by Toyota hydrogen fuel cell electric powertrains. Toyota and Kenworth unveiled the jointly developed fuel cell electric heavy-duty truck, the result of a collaboration with the California Air Resources Board and the Port of Los Angeles. The trucks were developed for use at the Port of Los Angeles, throughout the Southern California and Central Coast areas, and in Merced County.

One of the benefits of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles “is that hydrogen uses a fueling infrastructure that’s similar to conventional trucks. This means that FCEVs could be refueled at existing truck stops across the country and the fueling experience would be similar. A truck can be filled with hydrogen in less than 15 minutes,” wrote Patrick Molloy at Rocky Mountain Institute, Denver.

Nikola Motors, a U.S. maker of hydrogen trucks, claims its vehicles can get 12 to 15 miles per gallon (mpg), well above the average 6.4 mpg for a diesel truck. Two years ago, Nikola Motors, based in Phoenix, announced it launched a roadmap for 700 fueling stations across our country.

Now that hydrogen technology is growing in acceptance, here’s hoping there will be greater attention to accelerating research and development, scaling up production, and finding ways to reduce costs.

That’s welcome news.

Don C. Brunell is a business analyst, writer and columnist. He retired as president of the Association of Washington Business, the state’s oldest and largest business organization, and now lives in Vancouver. He can be contacted at thebrunells@msn.com.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@mi-reporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.mi-reporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

[flipp]

More in Opinion

Tim Eyman. File photo
Editorial: Judge’s rebuke of Eyman protects initiative process

Along with a $2.6 million fine, the ruling places restrictions on Eyman’s future initiative campaigns.

Courtesy image
Thoughts on police reform and public trust | Guest column

By Steven D. Strachan, Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs The… Continue reading

Robert Toomey, CFA/CFP, is Vice President of Research for S. R. Schill & Associates on Mercer Island.
The GameStop phenomenon and its implications | Guest column

The past couple of weeks have been interesting with respect to speculative… Continue reading

A painted rock found on Mercer Island. Photo courtesy of Greg Asimakoupoulos
Signs of hope and messages of love | Guest column

It’s true! Valentine’s Day is not for lovers alone. Long ago, greeting… Continue reading

Don C. Brunell is a business analyst, writer and columnist. He recently retired as president of the Association of Washington Business, the state’s oldest and largest business organization, and now lives in Vancouver. He can be contacted at thebrunells@msn.com.
Hydrogen gains momentum as replacement fuel for trucks | Brunell

In the coming decade, European Union leaders are investing heavily in hydrogen… Continue reading

A CVS pharmacist prepares a shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. File photo
Editorial: Give teachers a cut in line for covid vaccine

It’s worth considering to get kids back in classrooms, but schools can work to open safely for all.

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
Change is ahead for both political parties | Roegner

President Donald Trump changed the national political landscape. Both political parties have… Continue reading

Teaser
Signs of hope and love birds on Mercer Island

Inauguration Day. I’m listening to Amanda Gorman read her poem “The Hill… Continue reading

Guest columnist Greg Asimakoupoulos is chaplain at Covenant Living at the Shores in Mercer Island.
A prayer for our new president | Guest column

Once a year, for the past decade, I have given the invocation… Continue reading

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
Legislators of color will have impact on 2021 session | Roegner

The 2021 session of the Legislature has kicked off with virtual participation… Continue reading

Don C. Brunell is a business analyst, writer and columnist. He recently retired as president of the Association of Washington Business, the state’s oldest and largest business organization, and now lives in Vancouver. He can be contacted at thebrunells@msn.com.
Bracing for bigger changes in a COVID world | Brunell

Now that vaccines are available, we hope our lives will return to… Continue reading

Guest columnist Greg Asimakoupoulos is chaplain at Covenant Living at the Shores in Mercer Island.
Reflections on insurrection | Guest column

For Christians around the world, Jan. 6 is Epiphany. Sometimes called the… Continue reading