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A Holistic Analysis of Energy and Environmental Impacts from Hydrogen as an Alternative Fuel in 2050

  • Author(s): Willette, Peter
  • Advisor(s): Samuelsen, Scott
  • et al.
Abstract

The driving factors for pursuing alternative fuels stem from energy issues associated with fossil based sources. In particular, such sources are finite in quantity, foreign sourced, and directly emit both greenhouse gasses (GHGs) and criteria pollutants during their utilization. In California, the transportation sector is in the lead for the consumption of overall energy by sector, with passenger vehicles emitting the most GHGs out of the entire transportation sector. Motivated by the large body of legislation and the complex nature of the potential alternative fuel supply chains, the goal of this work is to examine hydrogen as an alternative transportation fuel. To this end, a computer model was developed that allows for the systematic selection of preferred hydrogen supply chains. The goals of this thesis are to: 1) Establish spatially and temporally resolved generation, distribution, dispensing, and utilization scenarios for fueling the hydrogen transportation sector based on a systematic selection technique, and 2) Quantify the environmental impacts, and energy requirements in comparison to the current supply of petroleum fuels. The modeling approach developed herein, the Hydrogen Fueling infrastructure tool (HFit), takes a global decision-making approach to the creation and evolution of a future hydrogen infrastructure. In order to exercise the HFit, several case studies were conducted with different decision-making datasets. The outputs allowed for the simulation and quantification of a future hydrogen economy within the state of California on a spatial and temporal basis.

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