Saturday, 27 January 2018

Battery and hydrogen (H2) - A Comparative Analysis of Infrastructure Costs

Source: "Battery and hydrogen (H2) – Jülich Research Center and H2 MOBILITY publish comparative analysis of infrastructure costs", H2 MOBILITY Deutschland GmbH & Co. KG, 25th January 2018

  • Both technologies are vital for successful decarbonisation of the transport sector
  • H2 infrastructure works out cheaper as of one million vehicles
  • Additional investment needed for 100% green hydrogen
  • Battery charging network is more cost intensive than hydrogen in the long term

Berlin, 25 January 2018 – The scenario analysis shows that, in the long run, the build-up of a hydrogen infrastructure is more cost friendly than investing in a system of battery charging points. Up to a fleet size of 100,000 vehicles, the scheduled costs for hydrogen mobility (FCEV) amount to around EUR 450 million. For battery electric vehicles (BEV), the costs are around EUR 310 million. However, because hydrogen dispensation is centrally organised at petrol stations, the H2 option then starts to get cheaper: Once one million vehicles are on the road, the cost of H2 infrastructure totals around EUR 1.9 billion while battery charging infrastructure amounts to EUR 2.8 billion. Hydrogen can become more expensive for an interim period during the changeover to 100% green hydrogen from surplus electricity, since this also requires the installation of large-scale storage technologies.

Once market penetration reaches 20 million vehicles, investments in a battery charging infrastructure would total around EUR 51 billion, making this option considerably more expensive than hydrogen mobility which comes in at around EUR 40 billion.

On presenting the comparative analysis of FCEV and BEV infrastructures, Professor Dr. Stolten, Director of the Institute for Electrochemical Process Engineering at Jülich Research Centre (JRC), stated that: ‘We need to invest in both of them.’ He then went on to say that, ‘Both technologies require a moderate level of investment compared to other infrastructures, like road building and maintenance, for example. Therefore, we need an inclusive rather an exclusive approach if we are to maximise efficiency and make better use of renewable energies across the board in the transport sector.’

Together, drivetrain electrification and the switch to electricity-based fuels constitute a cornerstone for achieving Europe’s transport sector climate targets and thus for significantly reducing vehicle CO2 emissions. Electric drivetrains emit zero tailpipe emissions. Their carbon footprint only concerns actual power supply, but this can also be reduced to virtually zero by harnessing renewable energies. E-vehicles thus have the potential to considerably improve people’s quality of life, especially in built-up areas. Electricity for e-vehicles can be stored in a battery or as hydrogen. Hydrogen also allows us to harness seasonal electricity surpluses from renewable sources.

The aim of the study was to provide a detailed analysis of Germany’s BEV and FCEV infrastructure and scaling requirements and to reach a concrete conclusion about the level of cost involved. The comparative scenario analysis was compiled by Jülich Research Centre’s Institute for Electrochemical Process Engineering under Professor Dr. Stolten and financed by H2 MOBILITY Deutschland GmbH & KG.

Download links
‘Comparative Analysis of Infrastructures: Hydrogen Fueling and Electric Charging of Vehicles’ (Full analysis, including a German abstract)

More information
JRC: Dr. Martin Robinius | + 49 (0) 2461 61 3077 |
H2 MOBILITY: Sybille Riepe | +49 (0) 40 80 79 04 612 |


H2 MOBILITY Deutschland GmbH & Co. KG is responsible for the Germany-wide rollout of HRS infrastructure (700 bar technology) for fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV). Its first goal – through to 2018 – is to commission up to 100 stations in seven German urban centres (Hamburg, Berlin, Rhine-Ruhr, Frankfurt, Nuremberg, Stuttgart and Munich) and along major trunk roads and motorways. Up to 400 hydrogen stations are scheduled to open in line with FCEV market growth, thus securing a nationwide H2 fuel supply. H2 MOBILITY is in charge of all operative tasks, including network planning, authorisation, procurement, installation and commissioning.

H2 MOBILITY’s shareholders are Air Liquide, Daimler, Linde, OMV, Shell and TOTAL. H2 MOBILITY also consults with the following associated partners: BMW, Honda, Hyundai, Toyota, Volkswagen and NOW GmbH (National Organisation for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology).

For more information about H2 MOBILITY Deutschland, please visit


Comparative Analysis of Infrastructures: Hydrogen Fueling and Electric Charging of Vehicles

Source: Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, Institut für Energie- und Klimaforschung Elektrochemische Verfahrenstechnik (IEK-3); January 2018; by Martin Robinius, Jochen Linßen, Thomas Grube, Markus Reuß, Peter Stenzel, Konstantinos Syranidis, Patrick Kuckertz and Detlef Stolten


The scenario analyses demonstrate that, for low market penetration levels of a few hundred thousand vehicles, the costs of infrastructure roll-out are essentially the same for both technology pathways. Hydrogen is found out to be more expensive during the transition period to electricity-based generation via electrolysis and geological storage, both of which are needed to access renewable hydrogen from surplus electricity. In the scenario for charging battery electric vehicles no seasonal storage option is considered and grid electricity for charging is generated in part by non-renewable energy sources. If vehicle penetration increases up to 20 million vehicles in the base case scenario, a battery charging infrastructure would cost around € 51 billion, making it more expensive than hydrogen infrastructure, which comes in at around € 40 billion. Additionally, securing supply based on renewable electricity requires a consideration of seasonal storage options. For the 100 % excess electricity-based hydrogen production, seasonal storage capacity is set to bridge 60 days at low renewable electricity generation. An adequate solution is required to achieve the same level of security of supply for electric charging based on renewable energy sources. 

The mobility costs per kilometer are roughly same in the high market penetration scenario at 4.5 €ct/km for electric charging and 4.6 €ct/km for hydrogen fueling. Because hydrogen permits the use of otherwise unusable renewable electricity by means of on-site electrolysis, the lower efficiency of the hydrogen pathway is offset by lower surplus electricity costs. For the scenario with 20 million fuel cell electric vehicles approx. 87 TWh of surplus electricity for electrolysis and 6 TWh of grid electricity for transportation and distribution are required. On the other hand, charging 20 million battery electric vehicle accounts for an electricity demand of approx. 46 TWh out of the distribution grid.

The efficiency of the charging infrastructure is higher, but limited to flexibility covering short-term periods. The available surplus energy in the assumed renewable dominated electricity scenario exceeds by factor of three to six the demand to supply 20 million electric vehicles. According to the use of surplus electricity, renewable and fossil electricity out of the grid, the corresponding CO2 balance for the high penetration scenario shows low specific emissions in comparison to the use of fossil fuels. The hydrogen infrastructure with the inherent seasonal storage option has lower CO2 emissions because of the high use of renewable surplus electricity. The application of controlled charging can improve the use of surplus and renewable electricity, thus decrease specific CO2 emissions of battery electric vehicles.