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Low Carbon Scenario Analysis of a Hydrogen-Based Energy Transition for On-Road Transportation in California


Fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) are emerging as one of the prominent zero emission vehicle technologies. This study follows a deterministic modeling approach to project two scenarios of FCEV adoption and the resulting hydrogen demand (low and high) up to 2050 in California, using a transportation transition model. The study then estimates the number of hydrogen production and refueling facilities required to meet demand. The impact of system scale-up and learning rates on hydrogen price is evaluated using standalone supply chain models: H2A, HDSAM, HRSAM and HDRSAM. A sensitivity analysis explores key factors that affect hydrogen prices. In the high scenario, light and heavy-duty fuel cell vehicle stocks reach 12.5 million and 1 million by 2050, respectively. The resulting annual hydrogen demand is 3.9 billion kg, making hydrogen the dominant transportation fuel. Satisfying such high future demands will require rapid increases in infrastructure investments starting now, but especially after 2030 when there is an exponential increase in the number of production plants and refueling stations. In the long term, electrolytic hydrogen delivered using dedicated hydrogen pipelines to larger stations offers substantial cost savings. Feedstock prices, size of the hydrogen market and station utilization are the prominent parameters that affect hydrogen price.

Funding source: This publication was funded by the UC Davis Hydrogen Project and the Energy Futures Research Program in the Institute of Transportation Studies (ITS-Davis). The authors would like to thank the industry sponsors that are members of the UC Davis Hydrogen Project Advisory Board and the STEPS+ program for their support.
Related subjects: Applications & Pathways
Countries: United States

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