1998-10-19

Fuels for Fuel Cell Vehicles: Vehicle Design and Infrastructure Issues 982500

We compare, with respect to vehicle characteristics (design, performance, fuel economy) and infrastructure requirements (cost of producing, transporting and delivering fuel), four possible energy carrier options for use with fuel cell vehicles:
  • compressed hydrogen gas
  • methanol with onboard steam reforming
  • gasoline with onboard partial oxidation
  • synthetic middle distillates (SMD) derived from natural gas with onboard partial oxidation.
Our simulations indicate that hydrogen is the preferred fuel for fuel cell vehicles in terms of vehicle weight, simplicity, first cost and fuel economy. The total capital cost for equipment to bring hydrogen to the fuel cell (including both onboard fuel processors and off-vehicle fuel infrastructure) is comparable for methanol, gasoline and SMD, and lower for hydrogen.

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