Projected Cost, Energy Use, and Emissions of Hydrogen Technologies for Fuel Cell Vehicles

Mark F. Ruth, Victor Diakov, Melissa J. Laffen, Thomas A. Timbario

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

2 Scopus Citations


Each combination of technologies necessary to produce, deliver, and distribute hydrogen for transportation use has a corresponding levelized cost, energy requirement, and greenhouse gas emission profile depending upon the technologies' efficiencies and costs. Understanding the technical status, potential, and tradeoffs is necessary to properly allocate research and development (R&D) funding. In this paper, levelized delivered hydrogen costs, pathway energy use, and well-to-wheels (WTW) energy use and emissions are reported for multiple hydrogen production, delivery, and distribution pathways. Technologies analyzed include both central and distributed reforming of natural gas and electrolysis of water, and central hydrogen production from biomass and coal. Delivery options analyzed include trucks carrying liquid hydrogen and pipelines carrying gaseous hydrogen. Projected costs, energy use, and emissions for current technologies (technology that has been developed to at least the bench-scale, extrapolated to commercial-scale) are reported. Results compare favorably with those for gasoline, diesel, and E85 used in current internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, gasoline hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), and flexible fuel vehicles. Sensitivities of pathway cost, pathway energy use, WTW energy use, and WTW emissions to important primary parameters were examined as an aid in understanding the benefits of various options. Sensitivity studies on production process energy efficiency, total production process capital investment, feedstock cost, production facility operating capacity, electricity grid mix, hydrogen vehicle market penetration, distance from the hydrogen production facility to city gate, and other parameters are reported. The Hydrogen Macro-System Model (MSM) was used for this analysis. The MSM estimates the cost, energy use, and emissions tradeoffs of various hydrogen production, delivery, and distribution pathways under consideration. The MSM links the H2A Production Model, the Hydrogen Delivery Scenario Analysis Model (HDSAM), and the Greenhouse Gas, Regulated Emission, and Energy for Transportation (GREET) Model. The MSM utilizes the capabilities of each component model and ensures the use of consistent parameters between the models to enable analysis of full hydrogen production, delivery, and distribution pathways. To better understand spatial aspects of hydrogen pathways, the MSM is linked to the Hydrogen Demand and Resource Analysis Tool (HyDRA). The MSM is available to the public and enables users to analyze the pathways and complete sensitivity analyses.

Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages10
StatePublished - 2010
EventASME 2010 8th International Conference on Fuel Cell Science, Engineering and Technology, FUELCELL 2010 - Brooklyn, NY, United States
Duration: 14 Jun 201016 Jun 2010


ConferenceASME 2010 8th International Conference on Fuel Cell Science, Engineering and Technology, FUELCELL 2010
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityBrooklyn, NY

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-6A1-48144


  • efficiencies
  • emissions
  • hydrogen
  • transportation


Dive into the research topics of 'Projected Cost, Energy Use, and Emissions of Hydrogen Technologies for Fuel Cell Vehicles'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this