HCNG – A Bridge to the Hydrogen Economy and the Zero Emissions End Game


Zero emissions is the end game that everyone is after. To be able to drive a vehicle that emits no pollutants may not have seemed realistic a few decades ago, but with the continued development of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, the public has been able to witness first-hand car and bus tailpipes emitting only water.

Several factors are still standing in the way of mass production of these zero emission vehicles and the necessary accompanying fueling infrastructure, and several intermediate steps will be necessary. However, the end game may not be as far off as some say, especially if early adopters take advantage of what is viewed as a potential “bridge” to the hydrogen economy.

Air Products, the leading supplier of hydrogen to refineries that assists in making cleaner burning transportation fuels, is also a leader in the use of hydrogen as an energy carrier for alternative fuels and has placed over 110 hydrogen fueling stations in the United States and 16 countries worldwide. Cars, trucks, vans, buses, scooters, forklifts, locomotives, planes, material handling equipment, and even submarines, have been fueled with its trend-setting technology that involves Air Products’ know-how, equipment, and hydrogen. Use of the company’s technology is increasing and is currently at 135,000 hydrogen fills per year. Air Products also has a great deal of experience with hydrogen compressed natural gas (HCNG) fueling, which is viewed by many as the “bridge” to establishing a true hydrogen economy. When looking at the environmental, national and societal benefits of increased use of hydrogen as an alternative energy carrier, Air Products believes it is a bridge worth crossing. A


For many decades vehicles have been fueled with compressed natural gas (CNG). This cleaner burning fuel has been shown to have significantly less emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) when fueling transportation vehicles versus traditional liquid petroleum gasoline and diesel fuels. Natural gas is also readily available and has a well developed pipeline infrastructure, making it easy to transport and obtain at an affordable cost.

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