Research report: Application of life cycle assessment methodology to the understanding of the energy balance and efficiency of hydrogen value chain building blocks

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  • Published: May 2022
  • REF/ISBN: 9781787253216
  • Edition: 1st
  • Status: Current

This document is free to download for registered users.

This publication explores the efficiencies of the hydrogen energy system and quantifies the energy intensity and associated GHG emissions, compared to other fuels, thus providing an independent view of all options.

Phase 1 is a desktop study to identify the energy balance and efficiency of a whole hydrogen energy system, from production to consumption. It is not intended as a holistic comparison of the advantages and disadvantages of hydrogen versus other energy vectors. The study covers three specific areas of the supply chain:

  • Production (refer to section 4).
  • Transmission, storage and distribution (refer to section 5).
  • Usage/consumption (refer to section 6):
    • electricity;
    • heating;
    • power to a vehicle and drivetrain, and
    • ammonia, methanol, and similar chemical product.

By joining the outcomes of these three blocks together, an analysis of the energy balance and efficiencies of the whole system can be obtained. There's a particular focus on the two key emissions reduction opportunities:

  • heat, and
  • transport.

The study is based on publicly available information as much as possible and, where available, multiple sources have been reviewed. Typically, technology-based building blocks (e.g. fuel cells, green hydrogen production) have been assessed by consulting referenceable public material.

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