Green Hydrogen Production for Heavy-Duty Trucks – A Use Case Analysis of the Swiss Ecosystem
To reduce CO2 emission from freight transport over the road, green hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) trucks offer a promising alternative to traditional diesel trucks. In this working paper, we examine the Swiss ecosystem for hydrogen heavy-duty trucks in detail and outline the production and distribution process. The associated cost structure is investigated, and potential levers are discussed to reduce the cost of providing national green hydrogen at fuel stations. In particular, the cost of transporting centrally produced hydrogen to fuel station via trucks is compared with transporting centrally produced electricity over the grid which is used to locally produce hydrogen at the fuel station. Lastly, we briefly touch upon the green premium of operating a hydrogen powered trucks vs. a diesel truck and the hydrogen price required to achieve cost parity. Our main findings for the specific use case investigated are:
- The cost structure (status quo) of producing and distributing 1 kg of green hydrogen for heavy duty trucks priced at 10.90 CHF looks as follows: o ~3.50 CHF (32%) – Green electricity production at run-of-the-river plant o ~2.10 CHF (19%) – PEM electrolysis o ~2.80 CHF (26%) – 130km truck transport o ~2.50 CHF (23%) – Fuel station incl. storage and compression along whole process
- Transporting centrally produced electricity over the grid to produce hydrogen at the fuel station would be cost competitive with the diesel truck transport, when the producer can reclaim the cost-oriented feed-in tariff (Kostenorientierte Einspeisevergütung KEV) according to Art. 39 EnG and if grid taxes aimed at fostering sustainable energy sources would be waived.
- Ideally, hydrogen fuel stations should be located at high traffic freight routes and be equipped with their own sustainable energy source and electrolyzer.
- Green premium estimations for FCEV trucks vary between 11% and 97% additional costs but given that the LSVA tax is waived for trucks with electric engines, operating a hydrogen trucks seems to be financially viable in Switzerland.
- Long-term real-world observations for FCEV HDT’s are missing and thus, it is difficult to estimate or calculate real total cost of ownership.
The full working paper is available here.