Hydrogen from the gates // Cars on new fuel are unlikely to take root in Russia

Cars on hydrogen, the introduction of which are interested in the Russian authorities, will not be able to compete with electric cars, and even more so with cars with an internal combustion engine (ICE), believe in Petromarket. In particular, hydrogen-fueled passenger cars will remain more expensive than electric vehicles, and the cost of green hydrogen in the EU will be higher than electricity. In the case of the Russian Federation, hydrogen itself may turn out to be cheaper, but the “hydrogen car” will nevertheless turn out to be more expensive for the owner than an electric analogue.

“Kommersant” got acquainted with the study of “Petromarket” “Green revolution: what does it bring to Russia?”, Devoted to a comparative analysis of the prospects for cars on different types of “green” fuel. Experts of the consulting company conclude that cars on hydrogen fuel, the use of which is now actively discussed by the Russian authorities, will not be able to compete with electric vehicles. In Petromarket, the prospects for hydrogen cars are considered “extremely unfavorable”: “Even in the event of a radical decrease in their price (now very high) in terms of the total cost of ownership, they will lose not only to electric vehicles, but also to cars with an internal combustion engine running on carbon-neutral synthetic fuel. “.

Priorities have not yet been determined in Russia; in parallel, state programs for the development of both electric and hydrogen transport are being developed. Moreover, at the moment, the state has not set goals for reducing emissions from vehicles, and so far this is not planned. At the same time, officials are actively discussing the localization of low-carbon solutions, as well as the development of a filling network simultaneously for compressed gas, LNG, electric vehicles and hydrogen transport.

Petromarket believes that in order to promote cars with low and zero CO2 emissions in the Russian Federation in the next five years, it will be necessary to set rather serious emission limits for new cars.

Among the problems of the so-called “hydrogen cars”, the experts of “Petromarket” highlight the high cost of “green” hydrogen (produced using electricity from renewable sources by electrolysis of water) in comparison with electricity itself. According to them, hydrogen production is more energy intensive and the gap cannot be closed. According to calculations, in order for a hydrogen car to travel 1 km, approximately 2.5 times more electricity from renewable energy sources is needed than to carry out the same work with an electric car, the Petromarket concludes.

The study also points to the extremely high cost of a hydrogen car compared to the cost of an electric car (see graph). “Even if we assume that a hydrogen car will drop in relative price by 2050 as much as an electric car, it will still not be enough to compete with the latter in terms of cost of ownership,” the study noted. Such a scenario of a fall in the cost of hydrogen cars is achievable only with a noticeable expansion of their production, notes in Petromarket, and this still looks unrealistic due to the “almost unanimous orientation of automakers towards the production of electric vehicles.”

Among other obstacles to the proliferation of hydrogen cars is the underdevelopment of the network of hydrogen filling stations in the EU, which, on the one hand, will negatively affect the prices of hydrogen for end consumers, and on the other hand, will significantly limit the geography of the use of hydrogen cars.

The authorities are preparing a program to support electric vehicles

In the near future, hydrogen-fueled vehicles will not be able to replace electric vehicles powered by batteries or internal combustion engines, agrees Maxim Malkov, director of strategic and operational consulting at KPMG in Russia and the CIS. Hydrogen is an explosive gas, which significantly limits the possibilities of its use, he says: rather, we can talk about its use in quarry equipment or railway locomotives for the transport of goods.

Dmitry Babansky from SBS Consulting believes that the hydrogen infrastructure “will be pulled up behind the park”, and such machines “require” the least effort “due to the fact that the energy density of hydrogen is much higher than that of diesel fuel and lithium-ion batteries, therefore there will be a lot less gas stations ”. As for costs, when using “green” hydrogen, its unit cost per 1 kWh of energy is more expensive than electricity, but for “yellow” hydrogen (produced using electricity from nuclear power plants) in Russia and on an industrial scale, the costs are approximately comparable, he believes.

At the same time, the expert agrees that the cost of owning a hydrogen car will remain higher than that of an electric car, and the cost of the car itself will decline more slowly.

In addition, Dmitry Babansky notes, if such transport is subsidized by analogy with the practice of developed countries – that is, to compensate for the approximate difference between an electric car and an analogue on an internal combustion engine – then more funding will be required for these purposes.

Olga Nikitina

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