New Tool for Determining Air Quality and Greenhouse Gas Impacts of Hydrogen Infrastructure and Fuel Cell Vehicles
Although studies widely agree that widespread deployment of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and the associated infrastructure would reduce air pollutant emissions from the transportation sector, the extent to which air quality in an urban airshed will be affected by these reductions is a more complex matter than simply quantifying emissions.
To address that, researchers at the University of California, Irvine have developed a new tool—spatially and temporally resolved energy and environment tool” (STREET)—to characterize the pollutant and GHG emissions associated with a comprehensive hydrogen supply infrastructure and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles at a high level of geographic and temporal resolution.
STREET integrates preferred combination assessment (PCA) methodology with spatial and temporal infrastructure design and a robust air quality simulation model to provide a capability to assess quantitatively the impacts (e.g., GHG, criteria pollutants, energy intensity, water resources, costs, urban air quality) for future year scenarios proposed for fuels and power plants associated with both mobile and stationary sources.
STREET, says the researchers, allows for business scenarios for fuels, technologies and power generation to be vetted, modified, and refined a priori relative to meeting goals of lowering carbon, enhancing air quality and protecting water resources.
Applying STREET to the South Coast Air Basin (SoCAB) in California as an example, the researchers found that A significant adoption of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and the associated infrastructure by the year 2060 would substantially improve urban air quality. A paper on their study was published online 4 November in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology.
The also determined that a renewable energy emphasis on hydrogen infrastructure deployment produces localized air quality benefits that surpass those of a hydrogen infrastructure scenario with more fossil fuel use. A paper on their work was published online in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology.
Findings suggest that, compared to projections of remarkably improved ICE and hybrid ICE vehicles, hydrogen infrastructure and HFCV deployment will substantially improve air quality in an urban airshed and reduce GHG emissions from passenger vehicles, even when fossil fuels are a significant source of hydrogen. While these results agree with previous hydrogen infrastructure studies in a general sense (e.g., GHG are reduced, air quality is improved), they provide an unprecedented level of detail and insight from a planning perspective.
The coupling of spatially and temporally resolved hydrogen scenarios with the UCI-CIT air quality model provides an understanding of how HFCV can effect localized pollution within an urban air basin as well as how these effects can change depending upon spatial allocation of hydrogen infrastructure and temporal distribution of emissions from the infrastructure. Furthermore, the capability to simulate integrated hydrogen infrastructure scenarios provides insight into the degree to which variations in a diverse hydrogen production and distribution portfolio may affect overall environmental benefits.—Stephens-Romero et al.
Shane Stephens-Romero, Marc Carreras-Sospedra, Jacob Brouwer, Donald Dabdub, Scott Samuelsen (2009) Determining Air Quality and Greenhouse Gas Impacts of Hydrogen Infrastructure and Fuel Cell Vehicles. Environ. Sci. Technol., Article ASAP doi: 10.1021/es901515y