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A Comparative Study of Hydrogen Storage and Hydrocarbon Fuel Processing for Automotive Fuel Cells

[+] Author Affiliations
Saeed Kazemiabnavi, Aneet Soundararaj, Priya Thyagarajan, Xinle Zhou

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

Haniyeh Zamani

Washtenaw Community College, Ann Arbor, MI

Bjoern Scharf

Opel Europe, Rüsselsheim, Germany

Paper No. IMECE2015-52478, pp. V06BT07A024; 7 pages
doi:10.1115/IMECE2015-52478
From:
  • ASME 2015 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 6B: Energy
  • Houston, Texas, USA, November 13–19, 2015
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5744-1
  • Copyright © 2015 by ASME

abstract

In recent years, there has been increased interest in fuel cells as a promising energy storage technology. The environmental impacts due to the extensive fossil fuel consumption is becoming increasingly important as greenhouse gas (GHG) levels in the atmosphere continue to rise rapidly. Furthermore, fuel cell efficiencies are not limited by the Carnot limit, a major thermodynamic limit for power plants and internal combustion engines. Therefore, hydrogen fuel cells could provide a long-term solution to the automotive industry, in its search for alternate propulsion systems. Two most important methods for hydrogen delivery to fuel cells used for vehicle propulsion were evaluated in this study, which are fuel processing and hydrogen storage. Moreover, the average fuel cost and the greenhouse gas emission for hydrogen fuel cell (H2 FCV) and gasoline fuel cell (GFCV) vehicles are compared to that of a regular gasoline vehicle based on the Argonne National Lab’s GREET model. The results show that the average fuel cost per 100 miles for a H2 FCV can be up to 57% lower than that of regular gasoline vehicles. Moreover, the obtained results confirm that the well to wheel greenhouse gas emission of both H2 FCV and GFCV is significantly less than that of regular gasoline vehicles. Furthermore, the investment return period for hydrogen storage techniques are compared to fuel processing methods. A qualitative safety and infrastructure dependency comparison of hydrogen storage and fuel processing methods is also presented.

Copyright © 2015 by ASME

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