Study: fuel cell cleaner than big batteries? It depends on the power mix

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Study: fuel cell cleaner than big batteries? It depends on the power mix-cleaner

The result of the Fraunhofer study on the lifecycle comparison of higher range electric vehicles: From a range of 250 kilometers, cars with hydrogen and fuel cell (FCEV) are climate-friendly than battery powered electric cars (BEV). The crucial factor is the much larger CO2 backpack, which must bear battery cars through the production of the battery. A major role also plays how much eco flow is used for the production and operation of a vehicle.

The generated greenhouse gas emissions (THG) were examined in the manufacture, operation and disposal of battery and fuel cell vehicles with ranges from 300 kilometers, for the periods 2020-2030 and 2030-2040. The values were also compared with the values of diesel powered cars.

In their study, the researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE have broken down in detail (here as a PDF document) how much material is required for the production of batteries, fuel cells and hydrogen tanks and what emissions are produced during extraction and processing.

The result: the THG footprint of production and recycling of a fuel cell system including tank corresponds to the current electric mixture approximately one electrical drive with a 45-50 kWh storage capacity. For cars with larger batteries, more THG will be expelled than for the fuel cell system in a comparable performance class.

In operation, the power source for electricity and hydrogen is crucial. Following the assumptions of the study published by the Berlin Think Tank Agora, the Fraunhofer ISE Solarstrom (cargo at home) as optimum for the battery car. In the Best Case scenario for hydrogen, this is generated from 100 percent wind energy. But also produced emissions were also compared to the loading with the German power mix and hydrogen production in the mixed case (50 percent natural gas and 50 percent wind stream) or. In the worst case of 100 percent natural gas.

Study: fuel cell cleaner than big batteries? It depends on the power mix-cleaner

With a mileage of 150.000 kilometers convinces the study according to the fuel cell vehicle in all cases: Even in the worst case (100 percent h3 from natural gas), the THG footprint in the entire lifecycle is still the next ten years under the comparable electric car and is also lower than diesel vehicles.

“We see further research needs”

The study is a receipt for the complementarity of battery and hydrogen, so h3 Mobility, client of the study. Vehicles with medium to smaller batteries (< 50 kWh storage capacity) and ranges up to 250 kilometers lower the emissions in traffic. For higher ranges, fuel cell vehicles have increasing advantages from the point of view of climate protection. Both for battery but also for hydrogen: per green the energy source, the better the environmental balance sheet.

“In addition to the study, we see further research needs, for example for the use of synthetic fuels produced from hydrogen from renewable energies and CO2, to Second-Life aspects or the impact on area and water consumption,” explains project manager DR. Andre Sternberg.

Study: fuel cell cleaner than big batteries? It depends on the power mix-batteries

Unfortunately, what the study is unfortunately recognizable only with very accurate obviousness (the small black vertical stroke, the “span” is the fact that a large amount of CO2 can be saved already in the energy-intensive production of batteries when used eco flow. If one expects this, even an electric car with a large battery cuts out similar to a fuel cell car with a large battery in the climate balance.

You also have to look at the client of the study: As the operator of hydrogen petrol stations in Germany, h3 Mobility of course has a great deal of interest that the environmental balance of fuel cell vehicles fails as positive as possible, as the industry service Electrive meets.

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11 thoughts on “Study: fuel cell cleaner than big batteries? It depends on the power mix”

  1. Unfortunately, the Women’s Hofer ISE goes from overtaken data to the CO2 backpack of a vehicle battery: newer data Z. B. From ETH Zurich. This makes the result and the conclusion completely wrong.

  2. If I look at this giant hydrogen filling station, then did not change much in the minds of the women’s hoofers. Almost ancient that I should still drive to a gas station to tank energy and still wait, even if it is only 10-15 minutes. Another detour has to accept etc.

    I have at my home, in the hotels, office, restaurant, shopping center etc. Only 10s to load my Tesla. (5s to plug in, 5s for leaving and in between I sleep, I work, eat me, or buy one. No loss.

    Nota Bene, I can use all these sites solar power or water power stream (in Switzerland CA. 50%) use.
    Tesla is a leader in the most environmentally friendly production of cars in the gigafactories with solar power on the roof.
    Even the supercharger are supplied with solar power.

    The solid-state batteries will still make quantum jumps in the coming 5 years, so that reaches in BEV to 800km or beyond self-collateral.

  3. Germany Research, all others build it.
    Personally, I find a mix of hydrogen vehicle and battery most sensible. Smaller stretches with battery larger with hydrogen.

  4. Today, a Tesla model S (no SUV) has at least a comparable range as a hydrogen car.
    The battery is smaller than the 90kWh battery in the report with 77kWh, the power consumption is also smaller.
    This reduces the CO2 backpack accordingly.
    The hydrogen production was adopted for 100% regenerative wind power at BEV Solarstrom. But wind stream has a much lower CO2 emission as a solar power, in the report 11g / kWh to 48g kWh.
    By accepting a life of only 150000km, the hydrogen car is preferred.

  5. Hi Markus
    Everything said what can be said to the state of battery technology.
    But I’m detached from the footprint believed that both technologies have their rights and in different environments (ships, aircraft, heavy-duty traffic with h3) and should be further developed and further developed – in contrast to the burners,

  6. I am with my model S well over 160.000km … according to this study my battery would have to be dead … I have just 6% less reach than the new.
    What happens to fuel cells after 150.000km? Second Life?
    And the production of battery is always calculated with completely “dirty” electricity … Well, the study client h3 wants to market hydrogen … Who pays he gets what he wants

  7. So far, I always thought that Fraunhofer’s shareholder stand for seriousness. Since this study no longer. For completely inexplicable reasons, the study compares apples with pears. Thus, in pure eco-electricity operation of hydrogen from wind energy, but the battery charge is obtained from PV electricity. PV current calculates the study but with a more than 4 times so high CO2 emissions (48 against 11g CO2). In these numbers, the fuel cell can have a soothed overall efficiency, with this story you have to win.

  8. Hmmm I need current to produce h3, electricity to dry, condense and pump it, so transport eV. Fossil or h3 or. electricity. On the gas station again a drying and compression with electricity. So now I come with my “honest” built VW Golf (this was also made with use of electricity) and tank h3 this will be converted again to drive into electricity. As often as you still want to sell humanity for stupid. What we need is electricity and green to 100% and batteries. With customized services. Always the whole energy chain not only look at a piece.

  9. Currently, fuel cells are under 100 kW. You can calculate which buffer battery as a 5er BMW or a Mercedes E-Class with 300 kW needed to enable athletic driving style.

  10. I think the discussion is hydrogen or battery overflow. Each hydrogen vehicle is automatically an electric motor driven battery vehicle.

    Ultimately, this is how far the vehicle should come with battery, then if necessary, the long distances that you do not diminish with hydrogen to override. The fuel cell then takes a maximum of 100kW because the rest can come from the batteries. The invite for the daily use at home is my comfort gain and gets the efficiency of the overall system.

    For me, the 250km battery range that I can refuel on this route hydrogen, then the remaining maximum of 750km on the day can continue with hydrogen.

  11. I would prefer the clean diesel and the VH. Maintain infrastructure of gas stations.
    The oil multis and cartels prevent the transition and the politicians are blind. This path would be the time window for a successful electro / h3 mobility without an army of
    Unemployed in the automobile or. Supporting industry.


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