To prevent possible natural disasters induced by climate change, at the COP 21 in Paris (December 2015) the international community committed to adopt the measures necessary to avoid a rise in global temperatures of more than 2° C. At European level, this translates into a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions of 80-95% by 2050, compared to 1990 levels. In the transport sector, this implies a cut of 60% of GHG emissions. It is to this end that the European Union has imposed binding targets for road transport in member states. Since 2015, the average carbon dioxide emissions of new passenger cars cannot exceed 130 g/ km, a level that will drop to 95 g/ km as of 2021. Similar limits were also adopted for light commercial vehicles, with targets set by 2017 and 2020.
Directive 2014/94/EU (known as DAFI: Directive on Alternative Fuels Infrastructure) established a common framework for the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure in the European Union, in order to reduce reliance on oil and to mitigate the environmental impact of transport. The Directive lays down minimum requirements for alternative fuel infrastructure, to be implemented through national policy frameworks, which Member States are required to notify the European Commission by 18 November 2016. Article 5 of the Directive concerns "hydrogen Supply for road transport". Member States that choose to include hydrogen refuelling points accessible to the public in their national policy frameworks "shall ensure that, by 31 December 2025, an appropriate number of such points are available, to ensure the circulation of hydrogen-powered motor vehicles, including fuel cell vehicles, within networks determined by those Member States, including, where appropriate, cross-border links".
It is in this framework that the working groups of Hydrogen Mobility Italy have prepared a draft National Plan for the Rollout of Hydrogen Refuelling Infrastructure for Road transport, which has been submitted to the Ministry of Economic Development as a contribution to the National Framework on alternative fuels required by the DAFI. The MH2IT plan includes scenarios for cars and refuelling stations, as well as hydrogen demand, supply and associated environmental benefits. Costs and incentives are also estimated.
The scenario on hydrogen fuel cell car registrations in Italy provides for the introduction of 1,000 cars by 2020, with a view to reach a stock of around 27,000 by 2025 (0.1% of the Italian fleet), around 290,000 by 2030 (0.7 %) and around 8.5 million (20%) by 2050.
As regards the buses, the scenario foresees a more important penetration compared to passenger cars. Public transport operators, active in urban areas, will ensure a leading role in the transition to an alternative mobility, especially in the early stages of the market. Around 100 buses are expected by 2020, before reaching a stock of around 1,100 by 2025 (1.1% of the total stock), around 3,700 by 2030 (3.8%) and around 23,000 by 2050 (25%).
Relevant improvements in the fuel economy of hydrogen fuel cell cars and buses are expected until 2050. This will increase the competitiveness of fuel cell electric vehicles vis à vis conventional vehicles. Consequently, incentives needed to cover possible cost gaps between hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and internal combustion engine vehicles will be gradually reduced.
MH2IT considered refuelling stations of different sizes, depending on whether they are intended for cars or for buses. Smaller stations will be built in the initial phase (2020-2022) for small vehicle fleets (captive fleets of 170 cars and 19 buses in 2020). The deployment of small stations allows for a rapid coverage of the main transport arteries (TEN-T) and of the main urban areas, laying the ground for mass dissemination. After this initial phase, only large stations will be planned as they will allow for a better return on the investment.
COP 21 closing ceremony - Paris, December 2015
More than 40% of nitrogen oxide emissions comes from road transport. Fuel combustion contributes greatly to air pollution, responsible for more than 84,000 premature deaths in Italy in 2012.
Source: European Environmental Agency
Expected stock of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in Italy
Expected share of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in Italy
Expected number of hydrogen refuelling stations for cars in Italy
Expected number of hydrogen refuelling stations for buses in Italy
Italy shall deploy an appropriate number of refuelling points to allow for the free circulation of hydrogen vehicles across the national territory by December 2025
Source: provisions of directive 2014/94/EU