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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.

Life-cycle water consumption per 100 miles driven. Water consumption associated with corn E85 vehicles shows the highest life-cycle water consumption at 147 gal/100 miles compared to all other vehicle-fuel pathways. FCEVs powered by H2 via electrolysis using the US electricity grid mix also show a high life-cycle water consumption of 65 gal/100 miles.

Other FCEV and BEV pathways such as BEVs with US. grid electricity and FCEVs with biomass or coal gasification have life-cycle water consumption comparable to baseline gasoline E10 ICEV. BEVs with solar electricity, FCEVs with NG SMR, distributed electrolysis using solar power, and central electrolysis using wind power have lower life-cycle water consumption compared to that of gasoline E10 ICEVs.
BEVs with solar power have the lowest life-cycle water consumption followed by CNG ICEVs, while FCEVs with H2 from solar power have life-cycle water consumption similar to that of diesel ICEVs. Click to enlarge.

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”




Corn grain ethanol takes water, corn stalk cellulose ethanol does not.
Same land, water and nutrients you use to grow feed/food.


A small start up (Re: Thomas Gradex of PHST Industries) of Pointe Claire QC is producing a new product called (Water Pearls) to fasten growth by 20% to 40% while reducing fresh water used for farming by 30% to 80%.

California's Almond, Orange, Lemon, Grapefruits, Grapes, Olives, Kiwi, Avocados, Strawberries, Salads, Cucumbers and many more edible food producers could fight current extended drought and greatly reduce the use of rare fresh water, with this new product.

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