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A Comparison of Well-to-Wheels Energy Use and Emissions of Hydrogen Fuel Cell, Electric, LNG, and Diesel-Powered Logistics Vehicles in China


Global energy and environmental issues are becoming increasingly serious, and the promotion of clean energy and green transportation has become a common goal for all countries. In the logistics industry, traditional fuels such as diesel and natural gas can no longer meet the requirements of energy and climate change. Hydrogen fuel cell logistics vehicles are expected to become the mainstream vehicles for future logistics because of their “zero carbon” advantages. The GREET model is computer simulation software developed by the Argonne National Laboratory in the USA. It is extensively utilized in research pertaining to the energy and environmental impact of vehicles. This research study examines four types of logistics vehicles: hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (FCVs), electric vehicles, LNG-fueled vehicles, and diesel-fueled vehicles. Diesel-fueled logistics vehicles are currently the most abundant type of vehicle in the logistics sector. LNG-fueled logistics vehicles are considered as a short-term alternative to diesel logistics vehicles, while electric logistics vehicles are among the most popular types of new-energy vehicles currently. We analyze and compare their well-to-wheels (WTW) energy consumption and emissions with the help of GREET software and conduct lifecycle assessments (LCAs) of the four types of vehicles to analyze their energy and environmental benefits. When comparing the energy consumption of the four vehicle types, electric logistics vehicles (EVs) have the lowest energy consumption, with slightly lower energy consumption than FCVs. When comparing the nine airborne pollutant emissions of the four vehicle types, the emissions of the FCVs are significantly lower than those of spark-ignition internal combustion engine logistics vehicles (SI ICEVs), compression-ignition direct-injection internal combustion engine logistics vehicles (CIDI ICEVs), and EVs. This study fills a research gap regarding the energy consumption and environmental impact of logistics vehicles in China.

Funding source: This work was supported by the Shaanxi Provincial Science and Technology Foundation of China, grant number 2023-JC-YB-628.
Related subjects: Applications & Pathways

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