Research: hydrogen versus battery electric

The UK investment in transport decarbonization is more than £27B from the government for incentivizing zero-emission vehicles as part of an urgent response to decarbonize the transport sector. The investments made must facilitate a transition to a long-term solution.

The success relies on coordinating and testing the evolution of both the energy and transport systems. This avoids the risk of unforeseen consequences in both systems and therefore, de-risks investment. A recent study by Haugen et al. assembles and assesses the potential roadblocks of these energy systems into a concise record and considers the infrastructure concerning all other components within the energy system.

The researchers present a semiquantitative energy and transport system analysis for UK road freight, focusing on two primary investment areas for nationwide decarbonization: electrification and hydrogen propulsion. It highlights that a hydrogen system must overcome hydrogen production and distribution barriers for system-wide success and resilience. In contrast, an electric system needs to optimize storage solutions and charging facilities.

Without cohesive, co-evolving energy networks, transport decarbonization planning and operational modeling may fall short of meaningful real-world results. A developed understanding of the dependencies between the energy and transport systems is necessary for developing meaningful operational transport models that could de-risk investment in both the energy and transport systems.


Molly J. Haugen, David Flynn, Philip Greening, James Tichler, Phil Blythe, Adam M. Boies,
Electrification versus hydrogen for UK road freight: Conclusions from a systems analysis of transport energy transitions, Energy for Sustainable Development, Volume 68, 2022,

Pages 203-210,
ISSN 0973-0826,

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