Inderscience Publishers

The technoeconomic assessment of the hydrogen fuel chain

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Options for hydrogen fuel chain are compared with the existing petroleum-based fuel chain for transportation. The criteria used are the life cycle cost (Rs/km), Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions (g/km) and Nonrenewable Energy (NRE) consumption (MJ/km). Four hydrogen production methods, one hydrogen transport method, three hydrogen storage methods and two on-board energy conversion methods are analysed. Each fuel chain option is analysed in MATLAB to calculate the force and power requirement of vehicles for the Indian urban drive cycle. It is found that most of the hydrogen fuel chains are sustainable based on GHG emission and NRE use. However, the cost is significantly higher (for photovoltaics, electrolysers and fuel-cell based systems) than the existing petroleum-based fuel chain. Hydrogen fuel chains based on a Steam Methane Reforming (with an IC engine) are economically viable but have higher GHG emissions. When biomass is freely available, hydrogen based on biomass gasification (with compressed hydrogen storage and IC engine) performs better than the existing petrol-based fuel chain on all criteria. However, when biomass is grown commercially, this fuel chain is unviable. This analysis reveals the merits and demerits of hydrogen fuel chains over the existing petroleum-based fuel chains and can set cost and performance targets for hydrogen technology options.

Keywords: hydrogen fuel chains, energy analysis, carbon dioxide emissions, annualised life cycle, simulation, life cycle cost, greenhouse gas emissions, non-renewable energy, NRE consumption, India, hydrogen production, hydrogen transport, hydrogen storage, energy conversion, photovoltaics, electrolysers, fuel cells, steam methane reforming, biomass

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