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‘You can’t just fill a battery’

Aug 12, 2020 at 08:41 AM CST

This is the third part in a multi-part series exploring the costs and viability of fuel cell technology as an alternative to diesel-powered Class 8 trucks. See the rest of series at this link. Hydrogen is an invisible, odorless gas that ranks as the lightest and most prolific element in the universe. It’s also highly flammable. But then again so are other transportation fuels with the exception of diesel, which has the lowest flashpoint among conventional fuels. Proponents of using hydrogen as a fuel to power Class 8 trucks say it’s a silver bullet in finding tech to meet ever-tightening emissions standards, since it’s clean, abundant, can mirror the fueling infrastructure of diesel and meet the tough demands of long-haul trucking with much less weight and fewer fueling stops than all-electric. Its detractors, however, say it’s inefficient when compared to battery-electric power and presents significant safety risks.