Sustainable Transportation Energy Pathways (STEPS)
Li, Xuping and Joan M. Ogden (2010) Understanding the Design and Economics of Distributed Tri-generation Systems for Home and Neighborhood Refueling: Residential Case Studies. Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Davis, Research Report UCD-ITS-RR-10-14
The potential benefits of hydrogen as a transportation fuel will not be achieved until hydrogen vehicles capture a substantial market share. However, although hydrogen fuel cell vehicle (FCV) technology has been making rapid progress, current lack of a hydrogen infrastructure is a major barrier for FCV commercialization. The high cost of building an extensive hydrogen station network and the foreseeable low utilization in the near term discourages private investment. Based on past experience of fuel infrastructure development for motor vehicles, innovative, distributed, and small-volume hydrogen refueling methods may be required to refuel FCVs in the near term. Among these small-volume refueling methods home and neighborhood level tri-generation systems stand out because of technology availability and their potential to alleviate consumer’s fuel availability concern and other features attractive to consumers.
The objective of this paper is to provide a set of analytical tools for various stakeholders such as policy makers, manufacturers and consumers, to identify the optimal design and evaluate the economic and environmental performance of tri-generation systems for home and neighborhood refueling. An interdisciplinary framework and engineering/economic model are developed and applied to assess these systems. Major tasks include modeling steady state system performance, exploring the optimal design of a system, estimating the cost of electricity, heat and hydrogen, and system CO2 emissions, and comparing the results to alternatives. Sensitivity analysis is conducted, and the potential impacts of uncertainties in energy prices, capital cost reduction, government incentives and environmental cost are evaluated. Policy implications of the modeling results are also explored. Three case studies using California residential energy consumption data are presented.
Keywords: hydrogen, tri-generation, home and neighborhood refueling