Regardless of what people may say, those who want to lower greenhouse-gas emissions would do better to choose vehicles that use electricity compared to models that utilize hydrogen fuel-cell as the former is cheaper. This was the conclusion reached by a study published in the journal Energy and conducted by researchers at Stanford University and the Technical University of Munich.
In the study, the researchers revealed that when putting energy production and vehicle-operating costs into consideration, vehicles powered by fuel cells need twice the amount of electrical energy needed by electric vehicles. The study is saying that for those who want to have lower emissions, plugging a vehicle is a lot more cost-effective compared to putting hydrogen inside it. This is good news for customers considering that many of them find it difficult to choose between the two as both show no emissions. A reason cited as to the difference in cost is that it is more expensive to put up hydrogen generation infrastructure.
The actual study itself was conducted at Los Altos Hills in California, located around 40 miles in the southeast direction from San Francisco. Through the use of a case study, the researchers assumed that by 2035, 38% of the vehicles running around town would either be powered by fuel cells or with electricity. The study also assumed that by 2025, electric vehicles would be more cost competitive when compared to standard vehicles.
Based on these various assumptions, the researchers ran the data under a number of different scenarios. Examples of such conditions include allowing for the use of the electricity stored in the battery should the supply of the grid be maxed out. It even looked into the city’s plan to utilize extra solar power in order to get hydrogen.
It appears that the study itself is on the right track considering that the state of California is on the way to becoming Ground Zero as it relates to the operation of hydrogen refueling stations. At present, the U.S. has a total of 31 hydrogen stations that can be accessed by the public. Of these, 28 are in California with the remaining three located in South Carolina, Massachusetts, and Connecticut.
Furthermore, First Element appears to be on a roll as it has started operations of 15 stations in California starting in the latter part of 2015 until the middle of 2016. This is the same company that established the True Zero, a brand of hydrogen-refilling stations. It was in August 2016 when First Element revealed that it had refilled around 16,000 kilograms of hydrogen. That is enough to power emissions-free drive totaling 1 million miles.
The official title of the study is “Evaluating co-benefits of battery and fuel cell vehicles in a community in California” and is written by Markus F. Felgenhauer, Matthew A. Pellowb, Sally M. Bensonb, and Thomas Hamachere.