ANL: life-cycle water consumption of fuel cell vehicles can be cut in half compared to that of conventional ICE vehicles
The life-cycle water consumption of fuel cell electric vehicles using hydrogen produced from natural gas with steam methane reforming is almost 50% less than the life-cycle water consumption of conventional internal combustion engine vehicles using gasoline, according to a study by researchers at Argonne National Laboratory (ANL).
If the hydrogen is produced from solar power and water, the life-cycle water consumption is almost 60% less.
Average life-cycle water consumption associated with the majority of BEV and FCEV pathways (other than H2 production via water electrolysis using US grid electricity) ranges from 9 to 36 gal/100 miles driven as compared to 23 gal/100 miles driven by gasoline E10 ICEVs with corn ethanol. On average, BEV-210s consume the smallest amount of water at 2 gal/100 miles when solar power is used, while the water consumption increases to 26 gal/100 miles when US grid electricity is used.
Similarly, on average, FCEVs with H2 from electrolysis using US grid electricity consumes a large amount of water (65 gal/100 miles), but are much less water intensive compared to E85 ICEVs with corn ethanol (147 gal/100 miles). Diesel and CNG ICEVs consume a smaller amount of water (8 and 4 gal/100 miles, respectively).
Major water consumption processes include irrigation for corn farming, evaporative loss from hydropower reservoirs, and indirect (upstream) losses associated with H2 liquefaction and compression using a US grid electricity mix. The large water consumption for corn ethanol pathway can be reduced if a less water-intensive cellulosic biomass is used as the feedstock. While evaporative loss from hydropower reservoirs is inevitable (largely determined by climate and other design conditions), these hydropower dams are located in freshwater-rich regions. Therefore, the regional impacts of hydropower on water availability warrant further investigation.—“Water Consumption for Light-Duty Vehicles’ Transportation Fuels”
Jeongwoo Han and Amgad Elgowainy “Water Consumption for Light-Duty Vehicles’ Transportation Fuels”