While it is generally agreed that the PEM fuel cell technology is best for road vehicles, the need for a source of relatively pure hydrogen poses significant challenges. There are two distinct options that are currently being considered:
On-board processing of gasoline or methanol
Fueling with hydrogen gas made in an off-board facility
Each option has different implications for the fueling infrastructure and for the technologies required both on- and off-board the vehicle.
In addition, various fueling strategies shift the balance of risk between fuel providers and vehicle manufacturers. Generally speaking, alternative fueling options can be seen to trade off technical risk (e.g., will it work?) for commercial risk (e.g., will anyone buy it?). In seeking a satisfactory business solution, a key issue is the balance between these two risks on the part of the vehicle manufacturer and the fuel provider. Only when this balance is struck will the industry be able to move forward and the number of vehicles grow to a reasonable proportion of the total fleet.
This paper will address the options and the implications associated with them. It will illustrate that decisions cannot be made independently between the different players in the industry.
Sean Casten, Peter Teagan, Richard Stobart
Arthur D. Little, Inc., Cambridge Consultants, Ltd.
SAE 2000 World Congress
Fuel Cell Technology for Vehicles-PT-84, Fuel Cell Power for Transportation 2000-SP-1505, Hydrogen and Its Future as a Transportation Fuel-PT-95, SAE 2000 Transactions Journal of Fuels and Lubricants-V109-4