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Sustainability Implications of Using Hydrogen as an Automotive Fuel in Western Australia


Hydrogen is regarded as a potential solution to address future energy demands and environmental protection challenges. This study assesses the triple bottom line (TBL) sustainability performance of hydrogen as an automotive fuel for Western Australia (WA) using a life cycle approach. Hydrogen is considered to be produced through water electrolysis. Two scenarios, current grid electricity and future renewable-based hydrogen, were compared with gasoline as a base case. The results show that locally produced grid electricity-based hydrogen is good for local jobs but exhibits higher environmental impacts and negative economic benefits for consumers when compared to gasoline. After incorporating wind-generated electricity, reductions of around 69% and 65% in global warming potential (GWP) and fossil fuel depletion (FFD), respectively were achieved compared to the base case gasoline. The land utilization for the production of hydrogen is not a problem as Western Australia has plenty of land to accommodate renewable energy projects. Water for hydrogen feedstock could be sourced through seawater desalination or from wastewater treatment plants in WA. Hydrogen also performed better than gasoline in terms of human health and conservation of fossil fuel indicators under the renewable energy scenario. Local job creation potential of hydrogen was estimated to be 1.29E-03 man-hours/VKT. It has also been found that the cost of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (HFCV) needs to be similar to that of gasoline vehicles (GV) in order to be comparable with the gasoline life cycle cost per vehicle kilometre travel (VKT).

Related subjects: Applications & Pathways
Countries: Australia

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