Is hydrogen ICE destined to be a niche fleet solution?

Although few in the automotive industry dispute that hydrogen will play some role in the future of mobility, there remains little consensus on what technology or approach will realise its potential. With fuel cells currently a performative but impractically expensive proposition compared to battery electric, hydrogen’s use in internal combustion engines (ICE) could offer a solution.

As a non-carbon fuel, hydrogen ICE (H2ICE) offers a powertrain that emits neither carbon monoxide nor dioxide, although it does still produce nitrogen oxides. This makes it cleaner than gasoline or diesel, though not zero-emission. However, with standards like Euro 7 taking a less stringent stance on tailpipe emissions than previously expected, there is scope in Europe and elsewhere for cleaner ICE to make a significant impact on wider decarbonisation targets.

The US Department of Energy anticipates that small series H2ICE production could pick up from 2025, reaching full scale by 2030. At that time, Precedence Research forecasts the global market value will reach US$35bn. But how will these projections become a reality, and how broad could H2ICE’s appeal be?

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