Headline: Expected impacts on greenhouse gas and air pollutant emissions due to a possible transition towards a hydrogen economy in German road transport

Transitioning German road transport partially to hydrogen energy is among the possibilities being discussed to help meet national climate targets. This study investigates impacts of a hypothetical, complete transition from conventionally-fueled to hydrogen-powered German transport through representative scenarios. Our results show that German emissions change between −179 and +95 MtCO2eq annually, depending on the scenario, with renewable-powered electrolysis leading to the greatest emissions reduction, while electrolysis using the fossil-intense current electricity mix leads to the greatest increase. German energy emissions of regulated pollutants decrease significantly, indicating the potential for simultaneous air quality improvements. Vehicular hydrogen demand is 1000 PJ annually, requiring 446–525 TWh for electrolysis, hydrogen transport and storage, which could be supplied by future German renewable generation, supporting the potential for CO2-free hydrogen traffic and increased energy security. Thus hydrogen-powered transport could contribute significantly to climate and air quality goals, warranting further research and political discussion about this possibility.

Publication Year
2021
Publication Type
Academic Articles
Citation

Weger, L., Leitao, J., & Lawrence, M. G. (2021). Expected impacts on greenhouse gas and air pollutant emissions due to a possible transition towards a hydrogen economy in German road transport. International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, 46(7), 5875-5890. doi:10.1016/j.ijhydene.2020.11.014.

DOI
10.1016/j.ijhydene.2020.11.014
Links
https://publications.iass-potsdam.de/rest/items/item_6000610_3/component/file_6…
Staff involved
Projects involved
Air Quality Modelling for Policy Advice