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Comparing Air Quality Impacts of Hydrogen and Gasoline



Sustainable Transportation Energy Pathways (STEPS)

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Suggested Citation:
Wang, Guihua, Joan M. Ogden, Daniel Sperling (2008) Comparing Air Quality Impacts of Hydrogen and Gasoline. Transportation Research Part D 13, 436 - 448

This paper uses a lifecycle approach to analyze potential air quality impacts of hydrogen and gasoline use in light duty vehicles. The analysis is conducted for scenarios in 2005 and 2025 in Sacramento, California for CO, NOx, VOC, and PM10. Three natural gas-based hydrogen supply pathways are analyzed: onsite hydrogen production via small-scale steam methane reforming (SMR), central large-scale hydrogen production via SMR with gaseous hydrogen pipeline delivery, and central hydrogen production via SMR with liquid hydrogen truck delivery. These are compared to gasoline pathways with current and advanced technologies, in terms of lifecycle air quality impacts. The centralized/pipeline hydrogen pathway reduces pollution the most, followed by the onsite hydrogen production pathway and the centralized hydrogen production with liquid hydrogen truck delivery. Gasoline pathway scenarios, even with advanced new gasoline vehicles, would lead to much higher ambient concentrations of pollutants than any of the hydrogen pathways, producing 273 times greater CO, 88 times greater VOC, 8 times greater PM10, and 3.5 times greater NOx concentrations than those caused by the centralized/pipeline hydrogen pathway.