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07 May 20211 minute read

Hydrogen fuels ‘marginal’ vs electrification

ECAtoday
Hydrogen fuels ‘marginal’ vs electrification

New research from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) in Germany has shown that using renewable electricity to create hydrogen fuel is far less efficient than using it to directly power cars and homes.

As well as being costly to produce and transport, hydrogen fuel is extremely flammable and carries significant risks. Direct electrification of transport and heating was shown to provide a more sustainable and affordable route to Net Zero.

Falko Ueckerdt, research lead at PIK, said to the Guardian, “If we cling to combustion technologies and hope to feed them with hydrogen-based fuels, and these turn out to be too costly and scarce, then we will end up burning further oil and gas. 

“We should therefore prioritise those precious hydrogen-based fuels for applications for which they are indispensable: long-distance aviation, feedstocks in chemical production and steel production.”

Prof Gunnar Luderer of PIK added, “As climate targets require immediate emission reductions, direct electrification should come first to assure a safe future. It is clear that the contribution of e-fuels and hydrogen will be marginal on the timescale of 2030.”

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