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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.

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aye yi yi
By glennforum on 12/31/2009 10:01:48 PM , Rating: 4
Please Jason grow some will ya...take a stand and expose these idiots for who they are!!!

Carbon isn't the issue, it never has been and never will be.

This has all been about picking one of the most abdundant elements of the universe and figuring out a way to tax it.

Think about in the USA the EPA recently labeled CO2 a toxin...they adjusted their criteria. It used to be it you exposed something to element did it toxicly react...if so...then it is a pollutant...a toxin.

New test standards...but a human in a sealed room filled with CO2...human dies - it's a toxin. Well guess what then H20 is a toxin as well. Put a human in a sealed room filled with H20 and they die.

My god...wake up people. The CO2mmunists need to be thrown in jail for life - they should start with Al Gore and the entire UN.

Happy New Year - let's hope some truth and integrity is restored!!!

RE: aye yi yi
By bigbubba on 1/1/2010 3:55:32 PM , Rating: 3
Could you be any more paranoid you are just a standard conspiracy theorist...get over it.

RE: aye yi yi
By Kurz on 1/2/2010 12:10:03 AM , Rating: 2
When there is so much corruption in all the governments in the world it doesn't surprise me if it was really a ploy.

Just remember the government of USA and most countries dont have a say of their own Money supply. The Central banks around the world have no overseers usually.

"I'm an Internet expert too. It's all right to wire the industrial zone only, but there are many problems if other regions of the North are wired." -- North Korean Supreme Commander Kim Jong-il

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