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Hydrogen Supply Chains for Mobility—Environmental and Economic Assessment


Hydrogen mobility is one option for reducing local emissions, avoiding greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and moving away from a mainly oil-based transport system towards a diversification of energy sources. As hydrogen production can be based on a broad variety of technologies already existing or under development, a comprehensive assessment of the different supply chains is necessary regarding not only costs but also diverse environmental impacts. Therefore, in this paper, a broad variety of hydrogen production technologies using different energy sources, renewable and fossil, are exemplarily assessed with the help of a Life Cycle Assessment and a cost assessment for Germany. As environmental impacts, along with the impact category Climate change, five more advanced impact categories are assessed. The results show that from an environmental point of view, PEM and alkaline electrolysis are characterized by the lowest results in five out of six impact categories. Supply chains using fossil fuels, in contrast, have the lowest supply costs; this is true, e.g., for steam methane reforming. Solar powered hydrogen production shows low impacts during hydrogen production but high impacts for transport and distribution to Germany. There is no single supply chain that is the most promising for every aspect assessed here. Either costs have to be lowered further or supply chains with selected environmental impacts have to be modified.

Funding source: The thesis was conducted within the project “Wissenschaftliche Begleitung einschließlich technischer, ökologischer und ökonomischer Analysen im Rahmen des Verbundprojekts “Wasserstoffstation Hamburg”” financed by Vattenfall Innovation GmbH. Costs for publishing are covered by Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH.
Related subjects: Policy & Socio-Economics
Countries: Germany

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