Hydrogen ICE battling cost, infrastructure challenges

Hydrogen ICE battling cost, infrastructure challenges

Interact Analysis says high fuel costs and a lack of infrastructure are H2 ICE barriers, but expects the market to largely expand by 2040.

The hydrogen internal combustion engine (H2 ICE) industry is showing signs of growth but needs to overcome key obstacles to see widespread adoption, research by Interact Analysis concludes. The market intelligence specialist claims in its H2 ICE – 2024 report that high fuel costs and a shortage of adequate infrastructure are major barriers to market expansion.

The sector is starting to expand slowly, with Interact Analysis predicting that the number of new H2 ICE vehicles registered annually will reach 13,150 in 2030, with a sharper increase to 100,000-plus per year by 2040.

Beyond fuel costs and infrastructure challenges, Interact Analysis notes several engineering issues impeding the uptake of H2 ICE vehicles. According to the company, significant challenges include pre-combustion, particularly affecting port fuel engines, and poor injector lifetime due to lack of lubrication, currently standing at just over 1,000 hours.

However, the latest Interact Analysis report, “An Assessment of the Opportunity for Hydrogen Internal Combustion Engine Technology in Transport Applications,” suggests major technological developments to address these engineering challenges are possible or have already been made. These include improvements in pre-combustion and injector lifespan, engine redesigns, and reducing injector costs from about $1,000 to as close to $100 as possible.

“While H2 ICE appears to be in a strong position in terms of overcoming technological and legislative hurdles, market challenges such as high fuel costs are more difficult to address,” said Jamie Fox, Interact Analysis principal analyst. “The cost per mile for H2 ICE is even higher than for fuel cells, especially for trucks and buses, while the costs vary for off-road applications. Additionally, infrastructure costs and availability remain significant issues.

“We are some way off from full commercialization of the industry, and we expect the total cost of ownership for H2 ICE to remain higher than for diesel and battery electric vehicles until at least 2035. Our H2 ICE – 2024 report details our projections and the obstacles to widespread adoption of H2 ICE commercial vehicles,” Fox added.

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