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New Horizon for Automotive Industry: HYDROGEN| By Benjamin Debusschere

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In the middle of the pandemic crisis and as it was expected, the figures for the automotive industry are not good overall. According to Inovev’s latest report on the economic climate, global vehicle sales, both private and commercial, have dropped by 23% over the first seven months of 2020, and the production has decreased by 29% for the same period. 2020 is set to close with a 15% drop in sales and a decrease in production between -15% to -20%.

However, there is some good news to be shared: The growth of the commercial vehicle market in China and The attention that governments and industrial companies are giving to hydrogen.

All over the world, cars are more and more excluded from cities’ centers and are of less and less interest to the younger generation, especially given the pollution they cause. But a clean technology such as Hydrogen may give the automotive industry a new lease on life and reverse this trend; given that its combustion releases few or no CO2 emissions.

The way I see it, our needs for mobility will remain the same for quite some time to come.

Furthermore, over the past few months, countries including Germany & France have devoted billions of Euros to develop hydrogen technologies. At first, those plans involve avoiding fossil fuel-based energies which are used to produce hydrogen.

The goal is to produce Green Hydrogen through the electrolysis of water from a renewable and decarbonised source of electricity. Efforts must also be made on fuel cells, which are still very expensive to produce; and of course, to deploy the necessary  distribution networks.

As a result of these investments, large automotive brands such as Toyota & Hyundai, are already working on it and in order to remain competitive, other manufacturers will have to shift to hydrogen.

Fuel Cell & Hydrogen tank

Hydrogen is also a big opportunity for the Materials industry overall, particularly composites; offering real advantages in storing hydrogen in different forms (gaseous, compressed or liquified); especially in designing tanks that are lightweight and strong!

Companies such as Faurecia and Plastic Omnium have already bet on Hydrogen and recently formed a joint venture to support this opportunity.

Despite the pandemic crisis, there is a brighter future ahead for the automotive industry!

World Hydrogen Summit9-10 March 2021 – The second edition of the World Hydrogen Summit will gather global Government, industry and research experts all in one place with each session designed to facilitate intensive analysis, planning, networking, consolidation and debate in order to harness Hydrogen’s potential.

Hydrogen + Fuel Cells EUROPE12-16 April 2021 – The Hydrogen+Fuel Cells Europe is Europe’s largest and most important H2+FC exhibition. It is part of the Hannover Messe 2021.

World Hydrogen Technologies Convention20-24 June 2021 – At WHTC 2021, local and international attendees have the opportunity to present their technical findings and advancements in hydrogen and fuel cells, as well as participate in f-cell+HFC the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Event for marketing and networking.

Benjamin Debusschere

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