1997-08-06

Environmental and Infrastructure Trade-Offs of Fuel Choices for Fuel Cell Vehicles 972693

Fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) powered by hydrogen are the cleanest, simplest technology for automotive applications; however, concerns over the cost and availability of hydrogen fueling infrastructure are driving the development of FCVs powered by liquid fuels-including methanol, ethanol, and gasoline. This paper suggests that there are important energy and environmental trade-offs associated with liquid-fueled FCVs: some designs may offer small or no improvement over other high-efficiency vehicles, and significant benefits will only accrue through a shift to renewable energy sources. Given that public-interest goals will continue to be the motivating force behind FCV development, it is critical to maintain a focus on the energy and environmental implications of fuel choices.

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