Closed hydrological cycle
H2 mobility as a way of improving the climate
With mobility based on sustainably produced hydrogen, there are only winners: the environment, society and the economy.
Fuel cell vehicles combine the impressive dynamism of electrical drive systems with the energy density of hydrogen – rapid refueling, an extensive range (currently over 600 km per tank of fuel), maximum safety, good driving performance, no CO2, no nitrogen oxide and no soot particles.
Thanks to decentralized production, transport distances are short and make it possible to ascertain the origin of the energy.
H2 Mobility is helping to meet road transport climate objectives and supports the Swiss Confederation’s Energy Strategy 2050.
H2 Mobility is creating a new energy distribution network, thereby increasing the security of supply in Switzerland.
H2 Mobility can be achieved commercially in Switzerland. It promotes and supports the value creation chain in Switzerland and Europe.
Closed hydrological cycle
Systematically implemented, the closed hydrological cycle makes a form of electro-mobility possible in which water is used to create hydrogen, without any carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide or soot particles. When the hydrogen is converted into electricity, water is regenerated in the form of steam.
Green hydrogen can be manufactured locally using renewable energy.
Electrolysis decomposes water directly at the energy source to create hydrogen and oxygen.
Fuel cells then convert the hydrogen into electricity and water. The electricity drives the vehicle’s electric motor.
This closes the hydrological cycle: steam is created, which enters the environment once more, with no further emissions.
The H2 Mobility Switzerland Association is focusing on this clean, emission-free hydrological cycle, from local hydrogen production and filling station operations through to its use in vehicles.
Renewable energy sources
Green hydrogen is generated by renewable energy sources like hydro, wind, sun, biomass or geothermal energy.
In an energy system using a lot of photovoltaic cells and wind, surplus electricity may be generated. In other words, more energy is generated than can be used at a given time. In this case, hydrogen offers an ideal large-scale intermediate storage medium transforming this energy in a useful form for mobility purposes.
Switzerland has good prerequisites for safeguarding the local production of hydrogen. The extent to which the country’s energy supply is produced domestically will be increased by replacing mineral oil.
The H2 Mobility Switzerland Association and its members are committed to a form of hydrogen mobility that is exclusively based on renewable energy sources.
Ultrapure hydrogen is produced by means of electrolysis. The most common element in our universe, hydrogen (H2) is a colorless, odorless gas that is extremely volatile and does not become a liquid until cooled to -253 degrees Celsius.
Water can be decomposed into hydrogen and oxygen using electrolysis. This procedure requires electric power to be available, and can be installed on site where the power is generated. This avoids the need to use the distribution grid.
H2 Energy’s PEM (Proton Exchange Membrane) electrolysis plant became operational in 2016 at the Eniwa hydroelectric power station at Aarau. The PEM plant has a production capacity of around 20,000 kg of hydrogen per year.
The hydrogen obtained in this manner is stored in a trailer and transported to the nearby Coop hydrogen filling station at Hunzenschwil (Canton Aargau).
This hydrogen generation plant, which has been functioning since 2016, serves as a reference for future Swiss sites.
Filling stations are currently an important but missing link in the supply chain needed for the nationwide introduction of hydrogen mobility.
Efforts are underway to establish a network in several European countries. In Switzerland, the association for promoting hydrogen mobility is committed to establishing a nationwide supply within five years.
Switzerland’s first publicly accessible hydrogen filling station can currently be used to refuel passenger vehicles (at 700 bar) and also commercial vehicles and buses (at 350 bar). Refueling takes about the same length of time as filling up with petrol or diesel. The fuel costs per kilometer are roughly the same as the current costs for petrol and diesel.
The members of the H2 Mobility Switzerland Association currently operate a network of over 1,500 filling stations in Switzerland. So they already have the sites and the infrastructure needed in order to rapidly and systematically set up a network of H2 filling stations.
The first models of passenger vehicles with fuel cell technology are already available on the market as standard products, including in Switzerland:
The Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell has been on sale in Switzerland since 2016.
The Hyundai NEXO has been on sale in Switzerland since autumn 2018.
The Toyota Mirai has been on sale in Switzerland since spring 2018.
The Honda Clarity Fuel Cell is currently on sale in the US and Asia.
Some of the association’s members have substantial fleets of commercial vehicles. Due to their size and annual mileage, commercial vehicles consume significantly more energy. This represents great potential for deploying a lot of hydrogen amongst just a few consumers. For this reason, the H2 Mobility Switzerland Association is focusing on the accelerated development and operation of commercial hydrogen vehicles. The benefit of this approach is the rapid scalability of the filling station network. According to current calculations, the use of ten heavy goods vehicles or buses is sufficient to operate a hydrogen filling station profitably. This approach involves the filling station operators getting involved up front and paving the way.
Association members currently operate or commission fleets totaling over 1,700 heavy goods vehicles. They are therefore in a position to unilaterally switch to this clean technology and operate a nationwide network of hydrogen filling stations.
When converting hydrogen into electrical energy, vehicles only emit water in the form of steam. So this closes the hydrological cycle and the water originally used is released back into the environment.
Transport is the cause of around one third of Switzerland’s greenhouse gas emissions.
The biggest benefits for society and the environment lie with switching to a technology that enables mobility but without any CO2 emissions or harmful exhaust fumes. This form of e-mobility therefore has great potential to reduce road traffic’s contribution to global warming and contribute towards achieving climate goals.
Fuel cell vehicles combine the impressive dynamism of electrical drive systems with the energy density of hydrogen. The operators of fuel cell vehicles, whether they are privately owned, commercially owned or public transport vehicles, enjoy the following benefits:
- Refueling takes just a few minutes, in line with current practice for road vehicles.
- The range that can be covered with a tankful of fuel is already more than 600 kilometers, and is on the increase.
- The safety of the system and the hydrogen tank has been verified in countless stress tests. So in this respect too, the vehicles can be used with absolutely no worries.
- The fuel costs per kilometer for passenger vehicles are already comparable with the costs for vehicles that have conventional drive systems.