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Greenhouse Gas Emissions of a Hydrogen Engine for Automotive Application through Life-Cycle Assessment


Hydrogen combustion engine vehicles have the potential to rapidly enter the market and reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) compared to conventional engines. The ability to provide a rapid market deployment is linked to the fact that the industry would take advantage of the existing internal combustion engine production chain. The aim of this paper is twofold. First, it aims to develop a methodology for applying life-cycle assessment (LCA) to internal combustion engines to estimate their life-cycle GHG emissions. Also, it aims to investigate the decarbonization potential of hydrogen engines produced by exploiting existing diesel engine technology and assuming diverse hydrogen production routes. The boundary of the LCA is cradle-to-grave, and the assessment is entirely based on primary data. The products under study are two monofuel engines: a hydrogen engine and a diesel engine. The hydrogen engine has been redesigned using the diesel engine as a base. The engines being studied are versatile and can be used for a wide range of uses such as automotive, cogeneration, maritime, off-road, and railway; however, this study focuses on their application in pickup trucks. As part of the redesign process, certain subsystems (e.g., combustion, injection, ignition, exhaust gas recirculation, and exhaust gas aftertreatment) have been modified to make the engine run on hydrogen. Results revealed that employing a hydrogen engine using green hydrogen (i.e., generated from water electrolysis using wind-based electricity) might reduce GHG emission by over 90% compared to the diesel engine This study showed that the benefits of the new hydrogen engine solution outweigh the increase of emissions related to the redesign process, making it a potentially beneficial solution also for reconditioning current and used internal combustion engines.

Related subjects: Applications & Pathways
Countries: Italy

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