Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles enter the fast lane

  On December 3, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology issued the "Fourteenth Five-Year Plan for Industrial Green Development", which clarified that it will speed up hydrogen energy technology innovation and infrastructure construction, and promote the diversified utilization of hydrogen energy.

  As an important way for hydrogen energy utilization, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles have developed rapidly in recent years.

During the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympics, a total of 625 hydrogen fuel cell vehicles will be put into the Zhangjiakou competition area to provide transportation services for the event.

  Compared with lithium batteries, what are the advantages of hydrogen fuel cells?

When can it be used on a large scale?

Our reporter conducted an interview.

  What are the advantages?

  ——Longer battery life, more environmental protection, and more advantages in fixed routes, medium and long distances and high load scenarios

  In the mid-winter season, more than 400 hydrogen fuel cell buses have been busy operating in Zhangjiakou.

It is reported that this batch of hydrogen fuel cell buses has achieved storage and cold engine start in an extremely cold environment of minus 30 degrees Celsius, and a long driving range of 300-450 kilometers with heating and air conditioning turned on.

During the Beijing Winter Olympics, more hydrogen fuel cell vehicles will provide transportation services for the Zhangjiakou competition area and help the green Winter Olympics.

  Driven by the "dual carbon" goal, hydrogen energy has received more attention.

The International Hydrogen Energy Commission predicts that by 2050, the global hydrogen energy industry will create 30 million jobs, reduce 6 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions, create a market size of 2.5 trillion US dollars, and account for 18% of global energy consumption.

  Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are currently an important way to use hydrogen energy in the transportation field. Using hydrogen as fuel, the chemical energy in the fuel is directly converted into electrical energy through electrochemical reactions. It has the characteristics of high energy conversion efficiency and zero emissions.

Wang Yao, assistant secretary-general of the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers and Minister of Technology Department, told reporters that compared with lithium battery electric vehicles, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles have sufficient battery life, fast hydrogen refueling, and are environmentally friendly.

  "Lithium batteries cannot generate electricity by themselves and belong to secondary batteries. Hydrogen fuel can be directly used as a source of power for automobiles, and hydrogenation is convenient and fast, and can be refilled in an average of 5-8 minutes." Wang Yao introduced, the energy consumption of hydrogen fuel cells , Carbon emissions are more environmentally friendly than lithium batteries, not only without nitrogen oxides and other harmful gases, but also without carbon dioxide.

In addition, the biggest advantage of hydrogen energy is renewable.

In addition to hydrogen production from industrial by-products, hydrogen can also be produced from coal, and hydrogen can be produced by electrolysis of water from renewable energy sources such as photovoltaics and wind power.

  For consumers, the most intuitive feeling is that the battery life is longer.

"Hydrogen has a higher energy density. With the support of ultra-high energy density, the range of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles can easily reach or exceed that of existing fuel vehicles. Take the Toyota Mirai sold in the North American market as an example, and the new models are overseas. The measured cruising range in the test reached 1003 kilometers." Wang Yao said, in addition, hydrogen fuel cells are more adaptable to low temperatures.

In severe cold weather, hydrogen fuel cells will not be affected by the reduction in battery life and the anxiety of replenishing energy caused by low temperature.

  Wang Yao said that the characteristics of hydrogen fuel cells determine that hydrogen fuel cells have advantages in relatively closed and fixed routes such as ports and logistics parks, and medium and long-distance scenarios where the mileage exceeds the upper limit of pure electric battery life and high-load scenarios.

"Pure electric vehicles have limited room for battery energy density improvement under current technical conditions, and heavy trucks meet the needs of long cruising range. Increasing batteries will inevitably lead to heavier weight. Therefore, hydrogen fuel will have more advantages in scenarios with greater load capacity. "

  Why is it hot?

  ——Rapid development under policy support, and infrastructure such as hydrogen refueling stations are actively being constructed

  In 2019, hydrogen energy was included in the "Government Work Report" for the first time.

In September 2020, the Ministry of Finance and other five ministries and commissions issued a notice on the development of fuel cell vehicle demonstration applications, proposing to adjust the purchase subsidy policy for fuel cell vehicles to a fuel cell vehicle demonstration application support policy, and to develop fuel cell vehicles in eligible city groups. Rewards will be given to key automotive core technology industrialization research and demonstration applications.

  With policy support, hydrogen energy development has been accelerated in many parts of the country.

According to incomplete statistics, at present, more than 50 prefecture-level cities in China have issued hydrogen energy industry plans, and provinces such as Beijing, Shandong, Hebei, and Henan have successively issued "14th Five-Year" hydrogen energy development plans or supporting policies. The number of enterprises, fuel cell vehicles, hydrogen refueling stations and other aspects have clear phase goals.

  For example, Beijing clearly stated that by 2023, it will cultivate 5-8 leading enterprises in the hydrogen energy industry chain with international influence. The Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region will achieve a cumulative industrial scale of over 50 billion yuan and reduce carbon emissions by 1 million tons; by 2025 , The industrial system and supporting infrastructure are relatively complete, and the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region has accumulatively achieved a hydrogen energy industry chain industry scale of more than 100 billion yuan.

  At the same time, different levels of hydrogen energy subsidies and incentive policies have been introduced in various regions.

Beijing will provide a one-off fixed subsidy for hydrogen refueling stations above designated size in the construction process; provide hydrogen refueling stations with operating subsidies per kilogram of hydrogen in the operation process; fuel cell vehicles will arrange municipal financial subsidies at a ratio of 1:0.5 between the central and local governments.

Shanghai, Chongqing, Henan and other places have recently introduced local subsidy policies for hydrogen energy.

  Hydrogen refueling stations are also under active construction.

Hydrogen refueling stations are gas stations that provide hydrogen to fuel cell vehicles. As an infrastructure to provide hydrogen to fuel cell vehicles, the number of hydrogen refueling stations has also been increasing in recent years.

According to the "Research Report on China's Hydrogen Energy Industry Market Prospects and Investment Opportunities" issued by relevant agencies, as of early June this year, a total of 141 hydrogen refueling stations have been built in China, 73 are under construction, and 118 are under planning and construction.

  "After the country provided a large number of market subsidies for new energy route products based on lithium batteries, it has contributed to my country's current unique new energy leadership in the world, and achieved corner overtaking." Wang Yao analysis, and lithium battery new energy Unlike automobiles, if hydrogen fuel cell vehicles want to seize market share, they need not only policy support, but also the lower-cost diesel commercial vehicle market and more price-sensitive operating users.

Therefore, the development of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles is still very long.

  How to develop?

  ——The market space is large, but large-scale applications need to break through the core material and cost barriers

  The industry generally believes that hydrogen fuel cell vehicles have a lot of room for development.

According to the prediction of the China Hydrogen Energy Alliance, by 2030, China's hydrogen demand will reach 35 million tons, accounting for 5% of the final energy system; by 2050, the demand is expected to reach 60 million tons.

It accounts for 10% of the final energy system, and the annual output value of the industrial chain is expected to reach 12 trillion yuan.

Among them, the transportation sector uses 24.58 million tons of hydrogen, accounting for about 19% of the energy consumption in this sector.

This means that the hydrogen energy industry chain is expected to form a "dual" market pattern with the lithium battery industry chain in the future.

  However, the current development of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles still faces some obstacles.

  Some core materials still rely on imports.

"Fuel cell technology has been developing, and technological advancement has led to longer-lasting, better-performing, more efficient and larger-scale fuel cell systems. However, some of the core materials have not yet completely replaced imported products, and a certain period of product verification is still required. In order to confirm whether the reliability and durability of domestic substitutes can meet the demand." Wang Yao said, this is also the reason that restricts the high cost of some parts.

  Cost restricts the large-scale application of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

In the manufacturing process, most of the companies in the domestic hydrogen fuel cell industry chain have not yet achieved mass production, with relatively high R&D investment, small product output, and high manufacturing costs.

The high cost of each link in the industry chain is superimposed, resulting in the high cost of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

"From an overall point of view, although the main core components have been localized and autonomous, a certain scale of industrialization is still needed to effectively reduce product costs and achieve effective competition in vehicle prices." Wang Yao said.

  The flammable nature of hydrogen has caused some people to "talk about hydrogen discoloration" and affect the application of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

In this regard, Wang Yao explained that hydrogen has a high escape, and under the protection of a relatively open environment and effective storage devices, there is no obvious risk of hydrogen explosion.

“On-vehicle hydrogen storage technology is relatively safe under the current relatively mature high-pressure gaseous hydrogen storage mode. At the same time, the technology is still improving, and the safety will be further improved, so that everyone can use it with confidence. Some people’s "talking about hydrogen color change" needs to be approved. Popular science methods are used to increase trust and acceptance. There are thousands of hydrogen-fueled public transportation logistics vehicles in safe operation in China. In the future, more such buses and other municipal vehicles will appear next to the general public. The safety of the company will have a more intuitive feeling and understanding."

Xu Peiyu

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