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Review of Energy Challenges and Horizons of Hydrogen City Buses


This paper discusses fuel cell electric vehicles and, more specifically, the challenges and development of hydrogen-fueled buses for people accessing this transportation in cities and urban environments. The study reveals the main innovations and challenges in the field of hydrogen bus deployment, and identifies the most common approaches and errors in this area by extracting and critically appraising data from sources important to the energy perspective. Three aspects of the development and horizons of fuel cell electric buses are reviewed, namely energy consumption, energy efficiency, and energy production. The first is associated with the need to ensure a useful and sustainable climate-neutral public transport. Herewith, the properties of the hydrogen supply of electric buses and their benefits over gasoline, gas, and battery vehicles are discussed. The efficiency issue is related to the ratio of consumed and produced fuel in view of energy losses. Four types of engines–gasoline, diesel, gas, and electrical–are evaluated in terms of well-to-wheel, tank-to-wheel, delivery, and storage losses. The third problem arises from the production, operating, and disposal constraints of the society at the present juncture. Several future-oriented initiatives of the European Commission, separate countries, and companies are described. The study shows that the effectiveness of the FCEBs depends strongly on the energy generation used to produce hydrogen. In the countries where the renewables are the main energy sources, the FCEBs are effective. In other regions they are not effective enough yet, although the future horizons are quite broad.

Funding source: This research was funded by the Estonian Research Council grant PRG 658.
Related subjects: Applications & Pathways
Countries: Estonia

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