Recent technical advancements point to an increased probability that hydrogen will play a significant role in the transition of energy away from greenhouse gas (GHG) producing fossil fuels. Gasoline and natural gas are both fuels that are targets for displacement by hydrogen. Major automobile engine manufacturers are working on hydrogen-powered engines that are designed to go mainstream. Many energy analysts see both hydrogen-powered and electric vehicles sharing the future market for both automobiles and heavy duty vehicles.
In addition, hydrogen is being discussed as a replacement for natural gas-powered electric generating facilities as natural gas is increasingly viewed as a “bridge” energy source and not a long-term solution in efforts to slow climate change. According to the DNV report Heading for Hydrogen, the “Hydrogen Economy” has been overhyped in the past, but technical and societal changes are combining to advance hydrogen from an experimental fuel to market scale status.
In February 2022, Toyota and Yamaha announced a joint venture developing a V8 internal combustion engine designed as a direct replacement for gasoline-fueled engines. Although Yamaha is better known for motorcycles and off-road recreational vehicles, they have long been a developer and supplier of engines to the automobile industry. Ford, Toyota, and Volvo are all purchasers of Yamaha engines for their passenger vehicles.
The Green Hydrogen Coalition was formed in 2019 as a non-profit organization supporting the further development of “green hydrogen” for all sectors as an integral part of a clean power future. They have published a guidebook that explores current research activities and the various ways green hydrogen is produced and put to use.
Investment banker and analyst Goldman-Sachs predicts that hydrogen will become a one trillion dollar-a-year industry. Michele DellaVigna, the bank’s commodity equity business unit leader for the European, Middle East, and Africa regions, reported to CNBC, “If we want to go to net-zero we can’t do it just through renewable power. We need something that takes today’s role of natural gas, especially to manage seasonality and intermittency, and that is hydrogen.”
The following links explore the development of the Toyota-Yamaha engine, DNVs report on the progress of Hydrogen fuel toward full market readiness, the Green Hydrogen Handbook, and Goldman-Sach’s predictions for the role of Hydrogen in a clean power future.