Next Gen HD FCEV delivery van; image courtesy

First Hydrogen And The Hydrogen Truck Revolution

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The global market for hydrogen commercial trucks is growing. And — no, that’s not quite right. The market is SURGING, growing by $3.84 billion in 2023 alone, with projections showing a staggering CAGR of 41% during the forecast period expected to push the market to $120 billion by 2033 … and First Hydrogen is poised to make the most of that growth.

Hydrogen Cred.

Despite the number of studies and articles published in recent years critical of hydrogen fuel cells as a viable alternative to electric batteries in passenger cars, many still see a place for hydrogen in applications where battery electrification are not possible or practical. 

But you don’t need to take my word on that. Instead, take it from the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), an organization dedicated to research, publication, consulting, and lecturing in the field of sustainability.

“In particular,” they wrote, in this hydrogen mythbusting article from June of 2022, “hydrogen’s potential to decarbonize the hardest-to-abate sectors quickly and cost-effectively makes it a necessary part of the clean energy transition.” That includes its use in some forms of trucking and shipping.

With that in mind — and following the US Department of Energy’s continued support of clean hydrogen development — companies like First Hydrogen Corp. are hoping to capitalize on what they believe will be a steadily increasing demand for hydrogen-powered, long-distance, heavy- and medium-duty trucks.

First Gen medium-duty FCEV delivery vans; image courtesy

First Hydrogen’s initial demonstration vehicle — a modified MAN TGE commercial medium-duty van — was awarded road-legal status in the UK back in October of 2022, offering comparable payload ratings to its internal-combustion counterparts and the promise of an operating range of more than 500 kilometers (approx. 310 miles).

In contrast, a similar battery electric version of the same vehicle offered 348 km of range (approx. 215–220 miles) and a payload capacity reduced by as much as 2000 lb, in part because the vehicle’s battery packs “ate up” more of its available Gross Vehicle Weight Rating.

Last month, an updated version of the company’s van cleared 630 km (390 miles) on a single “tank” of hydrogen during a trial with Scottish energy firm SSE Plc. — a significant achievement that piqued the interest of a number of other UK firms, leading to 16 of the largest fleet operators in the UK from industries such as telecoms, utilities, infrastructure, delivery, grocery, and healthcare all signing up for a trial of First Hydrogen’s vans.

The company is confident that its hydrogen fuel cell vans will be up to the task of bringing zero-tailpipe-emissions vehicles to areas of the UK, and expects a significant number of those firms to buy-in once the trial concludes.

Public sales of First Hydrogen’s “First Gen” medium-duty vehicle are set to begin in early 2026 in the UK and EU, with a “Next Gen Large Series” (Class 8) vehicle slated to launch in 2028 with a standard operating range of more than 1,000 km (620 miles) … but the company isn’t just eyeing European markets.

Hydrogen’s French Revolution

In addition to its aggressive plans for its Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle rollout overseas, First Hydrogen has also purchased two plots of land in Shawinigan, Québec, Canada, with an eye towards building out both a production facility for green hydrogen and a manufacturing center for its “Next Gen” hydrogen commercial vans.

The sites were chosen because of the government’s “Plan for a Green Economy” and  “2030 Québec Green Hydrogen and BioEnergy Strategy” programs, which aim to reduce Québec’s dependence on fossil fuels, increase its energy autonomy, and promote “green prosperity” through hydrogen.

“Québec is a great place for (us) to plant the flag in North America,” offers Rob Campbell, CEO of Energy for First Hydrogen. “Quebec’s first hydroelectric company was established there in 1898, and Shawinigan has a strong history of energy and industry working together. The city and the region are very well positioned with its green energy resources, industrial community and growing green energy economy.”

The company also entered into a partnership with the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR) Hydrogen Research Institute (HRI) earlier this year, to help develop its plans. First Hydrogen’s Chairman Balraj Mann explains. “By combining our industry expertise with HRI’s research capabilities, not only will we work towards a greener and more sustainable future in transportation, but we will also solidify Québec’s position as a global leader in  hydrogen development.”

Feasibility engineering for the hydrogen production facility is scheduled to be completed by mid-2024, with full project commercialization expected to begin by 2026.

You can find out more about First Hydrogen and why the company believes that hydrogen will be the go-to fuel source for commercial vehicles in markets like Canada and the UK at this link. To read more about Carbon Credits’ take on the company and its go-to-market plans and potential, click here.

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