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Key Factors in the Introduction of Hydrogen as the Sustainable Fuel of the Future

Key Factors in the Introduction of Hydrogen as the Sustainable Fuel of the Future John P Blakeley, Research Fellow Jonathan D Leaver, Chairman Centre for Sustainable Energy Initiatives, School of the Built Environment Unitec New Zealand BACKGROUND

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Key Factors in the Introduction of Hydrogen as the Sustainable Fuel of the Future

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  1. Key Factors in the Introduction of Hydrogen as the Sustainable Fuel of the Future John P Blakeley, Research FellowJonathan D Leaver, Chairman Centre for Sustainable Energy Initiatives,School of the Built EnvironmentUnitec New Zealand

  2. BACKGROUND • Most likely uses of hydrogen for large scale use in New Zealand are:- Fuel for motor vehicles- Source of distributed electricity generation- Remote area electricity supplies • Hydrogen is an energy carrier, not an energy source. • Hydrogen can also be used as an energy storage medium

  3. BACKGROUND (cont.) This paper is in two parts. Part AKey factors in developing a "hydrogen economy" Part BPossible rates of uptake of hydrogenas a transportation fuel

  4. PART AIntroduction Early 1990's Battery powered vehicles thought to be the solution to motor vehicle pollution problems in cities. Late 1990'sGradually the focus shifted towards hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (FCV's) as being the eventual solution.

  5. Part A (cont.)Introduction • Key factors in hydrogen economy development in New Zealand. • Future availability and price of oil as a transportation fuel • Potential use of natural gas or coal as the source of hydrogen. • Availability of a hydrogen distribution network. • Climate change / greenhouse gas emissions issues (especially if South Island lignite resources are used)

  6. Part A(cont.)Infrastructural Issues • Large investments required for hydrogen production, storage and distribution facilities. • Production methodsSteam reforming of natural gasElectrolysisBiomass gasificationReformation of methanolCoal gasification • Future possibilitiesPhoto-electrolysisBiological production

  7. Part A(cont.)Infrastructural Issues • On board vehicle storage of hydrogen - Compressed gas storage tanks - Liquid hydrogen • Chemical hydrides • Future hydrogen production and distribution • Large scale production (off site) with delivery networks • Distributed production

  8. Part A(cont.)Environmental Impact Issues • Positive aspect of near zero vehicle emissions apart from water vapour. • Hydrogen by electrolysis from renewable energy sources - in theory carbon dioxide emissions can be eliminated. • Hydrogen from methanol or natural gas. • Hydrogen by electrolysis from thermal electricity generation.

  9. Part A(cont)Motor Vehicle Development • Demonstration projects are the most likely way in which FCV's will first be brought into use. • FCV's will need infrastructure for large scale hydrogen production, to be economically competitive on fuel cost. • FCV's will also need rapid reduction in cost of fuel cells to compete on vehicle cost with internal combustion engines (ICE's).

  10. Part A(cont.)Motor Vehicle Development • Fuel cell stack from about US$1,500 per kW today to US$50 per kw by 2020? • FCV's will face strong competition from hybrid electric vehicles for at least 20 years? • Development of a direct methanol fuel cell for motor vehicles?

  11. Part A(cont.)Reducing motor vehicle pollution in cities • Increasing concern about the impact of motor vehicle exhaust emissions on human health. • Widespread use of FCV's has the potential to significantly reduce environmental impact and health effects of exhaust emissions within cities.

  12. Part B: Key factors affecting the rate of uptake of hydrogen as a transportation fuel in New Zealand

  13. Part B (cont.) Initial Constraints • Incentivisation and encouragement of FCV's will be required. • Only 10% of New Zealand vehicle fleet is presently under three years old (230,000 vehicles). Only 2% of these vehicles are in private ownership. • Moving to hydrogen (with different engines) is a significantly greater challenge than moving to CNG and LPG was in the early 1980's.

  14. Part B (cont.)Initial Constraints • Hydrogen distribution presents significant delivery challenges (three times as many tankers required for same energy in liquid hydrogen as in petrol). • Need pipelines for large scale distribution of gaseous hydrogen. • Metal hydrides unlikely except for military applications. • Development of hydrogen economy in New Zealand will be constrained by availability of fossil fuels?

  15. Part B(cont.)Demonstration Projects • Because of problems in financing hydrogen delivery infrastructure, demonstration projects are the most likely way FCV's will be brought into use. • These vehicles will be fuelled from a central filling station. • At least for first few years of hydrogen uptake, private individuals are unlikely to be able to afford FCV's. • Demonstration bus projects are now frequently seen as a means of raising profile of hydrogen as a transport fuel.

  16. Part B(cont.)Possible rates of hydrogen uptake in New Zealand • Assume growth rates for FCV's of 10% p.a., 20% p.a. and 30% p.a. from 2010 to 2050. • Starting with 10,000 FCV's in 2010, the contribution of reducing dependence on fossil fuels from overseas will be small at any of these growth rates up to 2030. • Beyond 2030, at 30% p.a. growth rate, almost entire fleet of fossil fuel vehicles could be retired by 2050.This would be difficult to achieve in practice until FCV's have become economically competitive with other vehicles.

  17. Part B (cont.) Possible rates of hydrogen uptake in New Zealand • Beyond 2030, at 20% p.a. growth rate, about 50% of the vehicle fleet would be FCV's by 2050. • Beyond 2030, at 10% p.a. growth rate, less than 5% of the vehicle fleet would be FCV's by 2050.

  18. Part B(cont.)Possible future energy demand • At 30% annual growth rate, if the required energy to produce hydrogen all comes from electricity, then 40 - 70 TWh p.a. of extra electricity demand is required by 2050, depending on scenario. • This would be in addition to growth in electricity demand in other sectors of the economy from 40 TWh p.a. (in 2003) to an estimated 86 TWh p.a. in 2050. • The combined demand growth would be a threefold to fourfold increase in electricity demand, for a 30% p.a. annual growth rate in FCV's and if all hydrogen comes from electricity.

  19. CONCLUSIONS • The vision of hydrogen as a clean sustainable fuel securing NZ's energy future is a very attractive one. • Acceptance of hydrogen as the preferred motor vehicle fuel is likely to require heavy capital investment in centralised hydrogen production plants, using natural gas or coal if nuclear power remains "off the agenda". • Also costs of fuel cells will need to reduce by a factor of 40 to be competitive with vehicles with ICE's.

  20. CONCLUSIONS(cont.) • While FCV's will reduce noxious vehicle emissions in urban areas to near zero, greenhouse gas emissions of carbon dioxide from production of hydrogen are likely to require extensive mitigation measures if New Zealand is to meet its commitment to the Kyoto Protocol. • If we can meet these technological challenges, New Zealand will be well on the way to achieving a hydrogen economy by 2050.

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