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Home > Systems Analysis > Well-to-Wheels Analysis

Well-to-Wheels Case Studies for Hydrogen Pathways

The ultimate goal is for hydrogen to be produced and delivered utilizing several feedstocks, processing methods, and delivery options at a variety of scales ranging from large central production to very small local (distributed) production, depending on what makes the most economic and logistical sense for a given location. These parameters and the technological impact on key strategic issues, such as petroleum use and greenhouse gas emissions, were examined for several hydrogen pathways with hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) through a well-to-wheels analysis and compared to current (2005) gasoline internal combustion engines and hybrid vehicles.

The case studies provided below include several potential options for hydrogen production and delivery. Two time frames are examined for the hydrogen cases:

  • The "current" cases represent 2005 technology in the laboratory; however, this technology has not been validated at full scale.
  • The "future" cases examine 2015 potential technology for distributed production of hydrogen at refueling stations and 2030 central hydrogen production options.

Projected costs are presented for the hydrogen FCV cases.

The hydrogen production and delivery analyses presented here utilize the H2A production and delivery model approach and tools. In some cases, the results differ slightly from the targets in the Hydrogen Program Posture Plan; this is due to differences in the assumptions used. A significant attempt was made to document all the major assumptions used in the case studies. Continuing analysis will be conducted to revise, refine, and expand these preliminary calculations.

For the central hydrogen production cases, two delivery technologies are analyzed:

  • For the current cases, it's assumed that the hydrogen is liquefied and transported by cryogenic liquid trucks to the forecourt station. At the station, it's stored and then vaporized under pressure and dispensed as a high pressure gas to the FCV. The cost of hydrogen delivery used for the current central hydrogen production cases is $3.50/gge of hydrogen. This includes liquefaction, truck transport, and forecourt operations. This is based on the H2A delivery scenario.

  • For the 2030 future cases, it's assumed that a hydrogen pipeline infrastructure is available to transport the hydrogen to the forecourt. The hydrogen is first compressed from its assumed production pressure of 300 psi to a pipeline pressure of 1,000 psi. At the forecourt it's further compressed, stored, and charged as a high pressure gas to the FCV at a 5,000 psi fill. The cost of hydrogen delivery used for the future central hydrogen production cases is $1.00/gge of hydrogen. This includes compression, pipeline transport, and forecourt operations of compression, storage, and dispensing. This is based on the Hydrogen Program's targeted cost for hydrogen delivery technology.

Note: All costs are expressed in real 2005 dollars.

Well-to-Wheels Case Studies