Competitive Hydrogen Delivery: The cost of trucking.
In addition to achieving competitive production costs, decentralized hydrogen production requires cost effective distribution methods. Last-mile delivery of green and low carbon hydrogen remains a challenge to address by operators. However, Greenbox estimates that under reasonable scales of development, decentralized hydrogen distribution stands to become an attractive and competitive sector of the market.
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For short distance distribution under 300km, compressed gaseous hydrogen (GH2) trucking is the lower cost, and proven near-term transport candidate. Liquified hydrogen transport is generally reserved for larger volume, longer distance delivery, and hydrogen pipeline infrastructure is generally centralized around high-volume merchant operations.
In this article, we highlight the cost of 500 Tonnes annual hydrogen delivery, relying on the conventional diesel fuelled tuck, with a 500kg GH2 tube trailer and €1,00/L fuel price as the reference case. Sensitivities have been run under increased capital and operating costs, smaller trailer volume, and electric vehicle (EV) and hydrogen fuel cell (HFC) truck alternatives. The EV case assumes a fuel price equal to the cost of optimal electricity generation (or procurement), for feedstock in a green hydrogen electrolysis plant. The HFC case assumes a fuel price equal to the cost of green hydrogen production via electrolysis.
The above chart highlights that short haul distribution within 100km, is achievable today at a cost of less than €1/kg-H2. Moderate distance delivery between 100km and 300km is achievable at a cost between €1/kg-H2 and €2/kg-H2. As GH2 trucking scales up in the market, this should serve to reduce costs further; trucking operators will aim to optimize their routes to achieve highest possible equipment utilization (i.e., mitigating empty return hauls, servicing multiple operations). As low carbon EV and HFC truck alternatives are further deployed, green hydrogen producers and truckers will need to consider optimal fuel pricing strategy, in order to achieve competitive distribution.
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