Advancements In The Aviation Industry Are Promising

Hydrogen Yamaha Toyota V8 Engine

With the world in a tangle and governments everywhere scrambling to eliminate fossil fuels from the ground transportation equation, hydrogen is quietly making advancements in hard-to-electrify heavy-duty industries. The aviation industry is working tirelessly towards a hydrogen future which could help spur a revolution in automotive spaces as well.

It’s no secret that we’re big fans of the potential hydrogen technology offers the automotive industry. From localized production, preservation of engineering knowledge, cost efficiency, and technical variability, hydrogen can free us from being dependent on foreign nations for both oil and battery materials. The largest problem facing the hydrogen economy is a lack of rapid and dedicated production facilities which can crank out vast quantities of clean hydrogen. Because it has mainly been used as an industrial input, hydrogen has been mistakenly cast as an inefficient and dirty fuel, a narrative often pumped by self-preserving EV publications.

Image via Toyota

According to Forbes, the expansion of production tax credits and incoming funds for regional hydrogen hubs are helping bring hydrogen to the forefront in the aviation, shipping, and commercial trucking industries. A study by Clean Sky 2 and Fuel Cells & Hydrogen 2 says that hydrogen-powered aircraft could be ready for flight as early as 2035.

The march towards a proper hydrogen economy is spurred by tax credits provided by the Inflation Reduction Act, which includes up to $7 billion earmarked for the establishment of between 6 and 10 regional hydrogen hubs across the U.S. The ultimate end game is to create a sustainable network of hydrogen producers and commercial consumers, connected by an infrastructure network which will help accelerate the adoption of clean hydrogen. This all falls under the White House’s plan to reach net-zero emissions targets by 2050.

Aside from the generation of clean hydrogen using clean energy sources, the biggest impediment will be converting legacy infrastructure and building new pipelines to aid in hydrogen distribution. The U. S. Energy Department is seeking to reduce the cost of clean hydrogen by 80% to $1 per 1 kilogram in 1 decade, currently, green hydrogen runs about $5 per kilogram.

Glickenhaus SCG Boot Baja 1000 Hydrogen Fuel Cell Race Truck
Image via Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus.

Aside from powering motive transportation, hydrogen has the potential to help in the creation of electricity. Hydrogen and renewable natural gas derived from organic and sewage waste could be used to power gas-fired turbines at powerplants across the country, with little to no modifications needed to the existing infrastructure.

Hydrogen is coming, no matter what some of the EVangelists have to say about it. As the hydrogen economy begins to grow in scale and power planes, and trains, doesn’t it just make sense to throw automobiles into the mix as well? Exciting developments are already underway in the relm of hydrogen combustion thanks to companies like Toyota, and brilliant individuals like Michigan’s own Mike Copeland, while Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus is currently carrying the hydrogen fuel-cell powered torch. Additionally, Ford Motor Company has moved to patent a hydrogen combustion engine of its own, while the joint venture between Honda and General Motors have more hydrogen patents combined than just about anybody.

Written by Michael Accardi

Michael refuses to sit still, he's held multiple hands-on automotive jobs throughout his career. Along with being an investigative writer and accomplished photographer, Michael works for several motorsports organizations.

He was part of the Ford GT program at Multimatic, oversaw a fleet of Audi TCR race cars, has ziptied Lamborghini Super Trofeo cars back together, been over the wall in the Rolex 24, and worked in the cut-throat world of IndyCar.

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