backtop


Print 121 comment(s) - last by H24U.. on Jan 30 at 9:07 PM


Hydrogen vehicles aren't too eco-friendly in terms of carbon emissions, according to an in-depth new study.  (Source: Web Wombat)
Study indicates plug-ins feature a lower emissions life than gas vehicles, but hydrogen vehicles feature greater emissions

The hydrogen vehicle movement appears stalled.  The push to use the diatomic gas as auto fuel never exactly made it off the ground due to a lack of infrastructure -- production, distribution, and storage facilities.  However, for a time automakers like Toyota and Honda were pushing ahead with testing of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. 

Even this year, news leaked that GM was considering launching a commercial fuel cell vehicle in 2015, despite lack of support for the hydrogen movement from U.S. President Barack Obama.  However, of late, the big automakers like Toyota and Honda have backed off the effort to push hydrogen vehicles onto the market.

A new study might put another road block in front of the prospect of a near term commercial hydrogen vehicle release, while giving the plug-in vehicle movement a nice boost.  The study was authored by Ryan McCarthy at the University of California, Davis and published in the Journal of Power Sources. The ground-breaking study, entitled "Determining marginal electricity for near-term plug-in and fuel cell vehicle demands in California: Impacts on vehicle greenhouse gas emissions", examines the emissions impact of hydrogen and plug-in vehicles versus their gas counterparts.

Lowering carbon emissions to fight warming, along with high fuel prices and global-political instability, has been a key driving factor for the adoption of hybrids and alternative fuels.  The new study, though, judged hydrogen vehicles to be an utter failure at that objective, in their current state.  The study concluded, "All of the pathways except for [fuel cell vehicles] using hydrogen from electrolysis reduce [greenhouse gas] emissions compared to ICEs and [hybrid electric vehicles]."

It doesn't dissuade further research into hydrogen vehicles; it simply indicates they are unlikely to be ready for showtime anytime soon.  It points out that steam methane reforming is a promising emerging method of hydrogen production that may one day allow hydrogen driven vehicles to actually live up to their emissions promises.

In the near term, the study finds that plug-in electric vehicles are the best option in terms of lowering carbon emissions.  Despite using electricity mostly generated by "relatively inefficient steam- and combustion-turbine plants" the well-to-wheel carbon impact of EVs is still significantly lower than hybrids.

While by no means the definitive study on the topic, the new work does much to fill in the gap in knowledge about what exactly the true impact of green vehicles are.  While the topic of on-the-road emissions has been well researched, there's been much less progress in examining the full lifetime impact of vehicles.  Now, that lifecycle has been examined in depth and EV advocates can put another feather in their caps, while hydrogen advocates are once again handed another setback.

The study may play a crucial role in forming the policy of California's Low Carbon Fuel Standard, an effort to reduce the carbon impact of transportation.  And given that President Barack Obama's Environmental Protection Agency has embraced California's emissions policy, the new study could have a profound impact on the course of regulations and the auto market nationally, as well.



Comments     Threshold


This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

What CO2?
By dornol on 12/31/2009 9:39:30 PM , Rating: 2
Honda FCX fuel-cell car, is refilled by hydrogen generator powered by Honda solar cell. So, no coal or nuke to generate hydrogen. What CO2?

http://articles.latimes.com/2004/aug/29/magazine/t...




RE: What CO2?
By bigbubba on 1/1/2010 3:50:46 PM , Rating: 1
Don't worry, Jason Mick authored this. There is no real reporting here, just opinionated junk to push his ideas.


RE: What CO2?
By Penti on 1/6/2010 1:52:49 PM , Rating: 2
Retard much? The thing is they don't use less energy, but more, so to just assume the use of solar cell-panels is ridiculous that would mean a country like Sweden would need to produce something in the order of 80 TWh of (electric) solar power. Just for the automobiles. More then much much more then the whole world produces today.

We would need Generation IV reactors in the tens of thousands to power the world by hydrogen gas. And that's just silly as we just have about 450 nuclear reactors in the world today, building them would take forever and the tech is 20 years away before the first commercial plants (without hydrogen production built in) starts running.

I like renewables, and support many of them and see a large potential but a renewable powered hydrogen economy is just a pipe dream that nobody can build. And using fossil fuels as primary source would just keep the cars as polluting/resource demanding as today. The future is about using less, not because of CO2 taxes and such (it's still ridiculously cheap) but because the developing world will be competing for the same supplies as we use and will continue to use more of them leaving less for the developed world increasing the real cost (eventually) and not just domestic taxes. There's plenty of CO2 and resources we don't have involved.


"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997














botimage
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki