Hydrogen and its Applications : Review of Life Cycle Assessment Studies and Well-to-Wheel Studies

Posted by Benjamin Canaguier
File: 
Type: 
article
Comparative: 
yes
Publication year: 
2004
Language: 
English
Code: 
Vehicles/Fuels
Product: 
Hydrogen
Quality and sources
Is the study a: 
Quick LCA
Was a critical review performed?: 
No
Sponsor name(s): 
VITO - Flemish Institute for Technological Research
Sponsor name(s): 
University of Liege (Laboratory of Industrial Chemistry
Sponsor type: 
University
Practitioner(s): 
Theo Geerken, Veerle Timmermans, Stephane Lassaux
Practitioner(s) type: 
Institut/Technical research center
Summary
Goal and scope of the summary: 
A review of all recent and publicly available LCA and Well-to-Wheel studies on the production and use of hydrogen in various applications was conducted. The focus of the review was on LCA rather than WTW studies. Literature on the environmental effects of hydrogen as a fuel for use in mobile, stationary and portable application was collected using different sources. WTW studies typically include GHG emissions and an energy efficiency indicator. LCA studies usually include more impact categories such as acidification, eutro- phication, ozone layer depletion, carcinogenics, etc.

LCA studies draw attention to important contributors such as fuel tank (weight), precious metals (e.g. Pt and Pd), life time of membranes. Especially the production of the precious metals contributes significantly to impacts such as acidification and particulate matter. Comparing petrol cars with fuel cell cars with the technology of approx. the year 2000, the reduction in GHG over the full life cycle is still limited. Most studies make comparisons for the year 2010 and later and based on assumptions for future technological developments for both petrol/diesel cars and (hydrogen) fuel cell cars.

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