Clean Technology 2010

Eco-efficiency measurement for Hydrogen as an alternative public transportation fuel

K-H Cha, J-Y Lee, T. Hur
Konkuk University, KR

Keywords: life cycle costing, hydrogen, CNG, Diesel, life cycle assessment, life cycle costing

Abstract:

Urban governments are continually striving to enhance public transportation in ways that make them more environmental-friendly and improve the air quality. H2 and Fuel Cell Bus (FCB) offer one of the best ways to reduce air pollution because FCB has high energy efficiencies and emits less air pollutant emissions compared to conventional buses (i.e. Diesel/CNG bus). Additionally, H2 is an attractive alternative energy source in the face of depleting fossil fuels and global warming. H2 can be produced from fossil fuels and renewable sources and then stored and distributed in a variety of different ways. While many quip that H2 and FCB are not yet commercially viable, H2 technologies have been developing a great deal over recent years and this fact alone demands governments as well as for-profit businesses to take a harder closer look at what H2 and FCB have to offer in terms of environmental and economic opportunities. In this study, environmental and economic aspects of H2 pathways are analyzed according to plausible production methods and capacity, and distribution options in Korea using life cycle assessment (LCA) and life cycle costing (LCC) methods. For H2 production, this study considered the following: naphtha steam reforming (Naphtha SR), natural gas steam reforming (NG SR), water electrolysis (WE). Additionally, conventional fuels (Diesel and CNG) are also included as target fuel pathways to identify which H2 pathway has a greater environmental and economic advantage over conventional fuels. This study aimed to identify whether H2 and FCB can compete with conventional fuels used in buses in terms of economic feasibility and environmental improvement through the Eco-efficiency method. The conclusion to be drawn here is that H2 pathways are more competitive than conventional fuels, especially, Naphtha SR[C] and NG SR[S] pathways from an eco-efficient perspective. As a result, the switching from conventional transportation fuel to H2 pathways conventional is expected to offer a sustainable means of transportation. Most notably, the substitution to Naphtha SR[C] and NG SR[S] pathways is expected to offer benefits from both an environmental and economic stand point. Henceforth, drawing upon evidence within this report, decision-makers would be wise to invest in more cost-effective and environment-friendly fuels by constructing optimal H2 economy infrastructure.
 
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