Skip to content

Life Cycle Assessment of Hydrogen Transportation Pathways via Pipelines and Truck Trailers: Implications as a Low Carbon Fuel


Hydrogen fuel cells have the potential to play a significant role in the decarbonization of the transportation sector globally and especially in California, given the strong regulatory and policy focus. Nevertheless, numerous questions arise regarding the environmental impact of the hydrogen supply chain. Hydrogen is usually delivered on trucks in gaseous form but can also be transported via pipelines as gas or via trucks in liquid form. This study is a comparative attributional life cycle analysis of three hydrogen production methods alongside truck and pipeline transportation in gaseous form. Impacts assessed include global warming potential (GWP), nitrogen oxide, volatile organic compounds, and particulate matter 2.5 (PM2.5). In terms of GWP, the truck transportation pathway is more energy and ecologically intensive than pipeline transportation, despite gaseous truck transport being more economical. A sensitivity analysis of pipeline transportation and life cycle inventories (LCI) attribution is included. Results are compared across multiple scenarios of the production and transportation pathways to discover the strongest candidates for minimizing the environmental footprint of hydrogen production and transportation. The results indicate the less ecologically intensive pathway is solar electrolysis through pipelines. For 1 percent pipeline attribution, the total CO2eq produced per consuming 1 MJ of hydrogen in a fuel cell pickup truck along this pathway is 50.29 g.

Countries: United States

Article metrics loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error