Comparison of CO2 Emission Levels for Internal Combustion Engine and Fuel Cell Automotive Propulsion Systems
The well-to-wheel CO2 emissions and energy use of internal combustion engines (diesel and gasoline) are compared to fuel cell automotive propulsion systems. The fuel cell technologies investigated are polymer electrolyte fuel cell (PEFC), alkaline fuel cell (AFC) and solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC). The fuels are assumed to be produced from either crude oil or natural gas. The comparison is based on driving cycle simulations of a mid-class passenger car with an inertia test weight of 1350 kg. The study shows that the optimized diesel drive train (downsized mated to an integrated starter generator) achieves the best overall energy efficiency. The lowest CO2 emissions are produced by compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles. Fuel cell propulsion systems achieve similar or even better CO2 emission values under hot start conditions but suffer from high energy input required during warm-up.