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Cradle-grave Energy Consumption, Greenhouse Gas and Acidification Emissions in Current and Future Fuel Cell Vehicles: Study Based on Five Hydrogen Production Methods in China


Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) are regarded as a promising solution to the problems of energy security and environmental pollution. However, the technology is under development and the hydrogen consumption is uncertain. The quantitative evaluation of life cycle energy consumption, pollution emissions of current and future FCVs in China involves complex processes and parameters. Therefore, this study addresses Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of FCV and focuses on the key parameters of FCV production and different hydrogen production methods, which include steam methane reforming, catalysis decomposition, methanol steam reforming, electrolysis–photovoltaic (PV) and electrolysis Chinese electricity grid mix (CN). Sensitivity analysis of bipolar plate, glider mass, power density, fuel cell system efficiency and energy control strategy are performed whilst accounting for different assumption scenarios. The results show that all impact assessment indicators will decrease by 28.8– 44.3% under the 2030 positive scenario for the production of FCVs. For cradle-grave FCVs, the use of hydrogen from electrolysis operated with photovoltaic power reduces global warming potential (GWP) by almost 76.4% relative to steam methane reforming. By contrast, the use of hydrogen from electrolysis operated with the Chinese electricity grid mix results in an increase in GWP of almost 158.3%.

Funding source: This work is financially supported by the National Key Research and Development Program (Grant No. SQ2021YFE011519), the Shaanxi Provincial Key Research and Development Program (Grant No. 2021LLRH-04-04-02), the Youth Science and technology star project of Shaanxi Province (Grant No. 2021 KJXX-15), the Shaanxi Provincial Key Industry Innovation Chain Project (Grant No. 2020ZDLGY16-08) and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities of Ministry of Education of China (Grant No. 300102221106).
Related subjects: Applications & Pathways

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