Criticism of Fraunhofer study: CO2 balance of hydrogen VS. battery pack

Criticism of Fraunhofer study

Hydrogen vs. Battery: What drive has the better CO2 balance?

Criticism of Fraunhofer study: CO2 balance of hydrogen VS. battery pack-hydrogen
gettyimages Criticism of Fraunhofer study: CO2 balance of hydrogen VS. battery pack

According to a study by the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems, hydrogen-driven vehicles are more environmentally friendly from a range of 250 kilometers than electric vehicles.

For links on this page, Site receives. A commission from the dealer, Z.B. For marked. The study sees more information different for information that is different for a new discussion about the future of traffic. However, the study leaves some questions unanswered and underlays an obvious alternative.The researchers from Freiburg compare in the study, which was created on behalf of the H2 Mobility Interest Association, the greenhouse gas emissions that arise when the various vehicle types are manufactured and disposed of and come to a clear result: from a range of 250 kilometers Vehicles with hydrogen fuel cells according to the study clearly more environmentally friendly than electric vehicles.

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Criticism of Fraunhofer study: CO2 balance of hydrogen VS. battery pack-battery

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The battery is the CO2 sinner

The study gives a clear reason for this: "The decisive factor is the much larger CO2 backpack that battery cars have to carry through the production of the battery ". The larger the battery, the larger the CO2 footprint. The researchers have calculated that the manufacture and recycling of a fuel cell drive train corresponds roughly that of an electric drive with 50 kilowatt hours of battery capacity. The greater the battery, the worse the CO2 balance for the electric vehicles is. However, the energy source is an important factor in the manufacture and in operation. So far, the hydrogen offered at the petrol stations has been produced almost exclusively on the basis of natural gas and is not as environmentally friendly as the production with wind power. With a consistent switch to hydrogen, which is obtained with electricity from renewable energies, the CO2 balance of the fuel cell drives can still be significantly improved.

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Criticism of Fraunhofer study: CO2 balance of hydrogen VS. battery pack-fraunhofer

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When comparing different energy sources and mixtures, the study comes to the conclusion that the hydrogen-powered vehicles also under worst-case conditions with a mileage of 150.000 kilometers in the next ten years are more environmentally friendly than electrical and diesel vehicles.

Questionable comparison

The evaluation of the individual drive types is and falls with the vehicles that are used as a yardstick. The diesel model is, for example, a Hyundai Tucson 1.6 CRDI, the fuel cell model is a Hyundai Nexo. The study from the consumption values of the NEXO calculates the parameters for the battery-based drives by setting an efficiency of 60 percent and a theoretical battery mass is opened to an imaginary Nexo without hydrogen tank and fuel cell. The study therefore estimates a mass of 2044 kilograms for a car with 60 kWh battery, for the 90 kWh car 2266 kilograms. The power consumption is set at 19.5 and 20.4 kilowatt hours per 100 kilometers, while Nexo should meet 0.95 kilograms of hydrogen for the same route.In the Efahrer test, the NEXO used an average of 1.2 kg of hydrogen per 100 kilometers, a Hyundai e-niro with 64-kilowatt hour battery (with a mass of just under 1.9 tons) 18.6 kWh. With these consumption values, the comparison of fuel cells and 60 kWh class over the distance of 150 tilts.000 kilometers already in favor of the battery car. At around 400 kilometers, the e-niro also accepted a larger range than in the study for the electric car.

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Criticism of Fraunhofer study: CO2 balance of hydrogen VS. battery pack-balance

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Because of the manufacturing effort, the comparison car with 90 kWh battery loses very clearly. This is not a new finding-however, the Fraunhofer study ignores the calculation that a 90 kWh battery according to 150.000 kilometers have far from arrived at the end of the lifespan: over 400 kilometers of range and a life expectancy of at least 1000 charging-drain cycles mean over 400 mean.000 kilometers mileage. Conversely, this also means that a 90 kWh battery in a car with only average annual mileage (in Germany: 14.000 kilometers) is out of place.Read the full test for the e-niro here.

Efficiency set too optimistic

The error in the compensation for consumption is likely to result in the too optimistic efficiency of the fuel cell: 60 percent are a theoretical best value that is not achieved in practice for various reasons-for example because the fuel cell has to be heated, and because behind the fuel cell Always there is a battery that bufferts the current and makes it practical in practice. The charging loss losses of the battery cost further efficiency points.

Criticism of Fraunhofer study: CO2 balance of hydrogen VS. battery pack-criticism

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Obvious alternative

The most amazing result in the study comes out when comparing diesel, battery drive and fuel cell if the hydrogen production based on steam reformation of natural gas is based on the latter. It is not surprising in this comparison that the fuel cell narrowly wins against the diesel, but that the alternative gas engine is missing. When the steam reformation of natural gas, exactly the same amount of CO2 is released when you burn the natural gas – for example in a combustion engine.Because the entire process chain from reforming to compression and transport of the hydrogen, renewed compression for the tank process, conversion into electrical energy, buffer in the battery to the drive engine an efficiency of only approx. Reaches 20 percent, a CNG car beats the fuel cell car-and at a fraction of the price. The impression that the study gives here that a fuel cell drive is already a sensible development even with the most unfavorable type of hydrogen production is wrong.

Criticism of Fraunhofer study: CO2 balance of hydrogen VS. battery pack-battery

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Projection into the future of renewable

The study also calculates what the balance sheet could look like from 2030 if enough CO2-neutral electricity is available-for example for hydrogen production. The CO2 emissions then drop very clearly for both types of drive. The Fraunhofer Institute assumes significant progress in the energy density of batteries, but also of great improvements in fuel cell technology.A fundamental difference will probably not have changed until 2030: For a kilowatt hour of drive power, the E-Auto based on battery-based basis must approx. 1.4 kWh of electricity can be generated. In the case of fuel cell drive with hydrogen made of electrolysis, at least 5 kilowatt hours of electricity are required to produce a kWh drive power for hydrogen supplies. That means: For a fuel cell car, three times more solar cells or wind turbines have to be built than for a car with batteries. The energy difference is very easy for the production of a large auto battery via a car life.

Both technologies are justified

The Fraunhofer study is of course right with the basic direction: Small batteries are amortized quickly in the CO2 balance, with large batteries this takes longer. For very large ranges, the fuel cell is a functioning alternative – but the energy expenditure for this is immense.

Criticism of Fraunhofer study: CO2 balance of hydrogen VS. battery pack-study

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Today it is idle to compare the CO2 footprint of battery and fuel cell-based cars: the latter cannot be bought, and while the hydrogen now available is practically exclusively from the CO2-intensive steam reform, an electric car owner can already today with its own photovoltaics reduce CO2 emissions in the company very significantly. If there is enough cleanly generated hydrogen at some point, it makes sense to first drive things that would not work with battery: aircraft, cargo ships, long-distance trucks, for example, but also heating. If all of these areas are switched to hydrogen, then it makes sense to equip normal cars with fuel cells. Until then, the battery-based electric car will play its efficiency advantage.This article was written by Thomas Pentzek
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