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Is Hydrogen Fuel Expensive?

Man refueling a heavy-duty hydrogen fuel cell truck

Why Hydrogen Is a Cost-Effective Fuel

Chuck Hayes, Global Technical Lead, Swagelok

Cost is one of the most important factors affecting whether a new technology is adopted at scale. It is certainly an important consideration for people evaluating alternative fuel sources. Regardless of end use, whether hydrogen is widely embraced will depend on how cost-effective it is to generate and use.

Money and question mark iconMany people are wondering, “Is hydrogen expensive? Is it cost-prohibitive for potential everyday drivers or industrial users?” The short answer is, “No, at least not long term.” While hydrogen may be slightly more costly than other fuel sources today, experts predict that those prices will drop dramatically in the coming years.

In our third installment of our series debunking hydrogen myths, we’ll explore why hydrogen is a cost-effective alternative fuel that end users can depend on.

Read More on Clean Energy

Did You Know?

U.S. Dept. of Energy Earthshots logo

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Earthshots program is specifically intended to encourage the development of hydrogen fuel in ways that will further reduce its costs. Hydrogen fuel cell buses will be less expensive to operate than battery-powered and ICE buses, according to Deloitte. Projections indicate green hydrogen will be less expensive than natural gas by 2050.

The Price of Hydrogen Is Falling

While it’s true that traditional fuels are currently cheaper, hydrogen cost is expected to fall significantly as production scales up.

There are a few reasons for this. Major oil producers are significantly reducing their production levels that have created unsustainably low prices and are also making decarbonization commitments over the long term. These measures will likely raise gasoline and diesel prices for consumers who drive internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles.

Meanwhile, the price of green hydrogen continues to fall. Experts suggest that within ten years, hydrogen fuel will be cost-competitive with traditional fuel sources. The costs for renewable energy sources—solar, wind, water—used for green hydrogen production are also continuing to fall, which will further influence hydrogen pricing. In addition, as governments across the globe enact more stringent carbon dioxide emissions standards, it is expected that governments may offer subsidies to incentivize clean energy growth.

Creating the Low-Cost-of-Ownership Hydrogen Infrastructure

A strong hydrogen refueling infrastructure will be required for hydrogen to meet its full potential. Investment is happening—for example, the United States recently announced a $7 billion in funding for seven regional clean hydrogen hubs to accelerate the domestic market for low-cost, clean hydrogen. The industry’s ability to build this infrastructure reliably has the potential to influence hydrogen costs for end users.Wrench and downward arrow icon

The right valves, tube fittings, and other fluid system components can help minimize leaks and maintenance needs for hydrogen refueling stations.


A hydrogen fuel cell heavy-duty truck refueling at a hydrogen stationHydrogen refueling stations may have lower investment costs compared to other clean energy sources, as existing gas or petrol stations can be easily retrofitted with hydrogen refueling equipment. Developers can do their part to keep costs low by specifying system components built for long-lasting hydrogen handling. High-quality materials can minimize maintenance costs over the lifetime of hydrogen refueling pumps. Choosing the right valves, tube fittings, and other fluid system components can help minimize leaks and maintenance needs, leading to higher uptime and lower total cost of ownership for operators.

Learn About Optimal Components for Hydrogen


The Bottom Line

Hydrogen is soon expected to be cheaper than most conventional fossil fuels. Governments around the world are increasing their support for hydrogen fuels, and there’s no obvious reason to believe this trend will reverse. Given hydrogen’s potential as a zero-emission fuel source, we expect to see excitement grow around hydrogen energy as it becomes increasingly more affordable.

Want to learn more about the clean energy economy? Swagelok is invested in enabling its growth, continuously working to deliver reliable hydrogen solutions for companies on the leading edge of clean energy development. Explore relevant topics on Swagelok Reference Point to learn more about reliable hydrogen fuel systems and how to make them a reality.

Learn More About Hydrogen

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