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Prospects and Impediments for Hydrogen Fuel Cell Buses


The number of demonstration projects with fuel cell buses has been increasing worldwide. The goal of this paper is to analyse prospects and barriers for fuel cell buses focusing on their economic-, technical-, and environmental performance. Our results show that the prices of fuel cell buses, although decreasing over time, are still about 40% higher than those of diesel buses. With the looming ban of diesel vehicles, and current limitations of battery electric vehicles, fuel cell buses could become a viable alternative in the mid-to long-term. With the requirements for a better integration of renewable energy sources in the transport system, interest in hydrogen is rising. Hydrogen produced from renewables used in fuel cell buses has the potential to save about 93% of CO2 emissions in comparison to diesel buses. Yet, from environmental point-of-view it has to be ensured that hydrogen is produced from renewables. Currently, the major barrier, for a faster penetration of fuel cell buses are their high purchase prices, which could be significantly reduced with the increasing number of buses through technological learning. The final conclusion is that a tougher transport policy framework is needed which fully reflects the environmental impact of different buses used.

Funding source: This work was conducted within the project TransLoC (Transformation of Cities into a Low Carbon Future and its Impact on Urban Metabolism, Environment, and Society), project number 1464033, founded by the WWTF (Wiener Wissenschafts-, Forschungs-und Technologiefonds).
Related subjects: Applications & Pathways
Countries: Austria

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