Schwenk, Markus; Faltenbacher, Michael
Hydrogen (H2) is expected to play a key role in the future European energy system, especially in the heavy-duty mobility sector, as it can be produced from renewable electricity and used with almost no greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and without any compromise in vehicle range. Establishing a European H2 supply and refueling system, similar to the existing diesel and natural gas supply system represents a great technical challenge and will lead to high economic costs. The study compares the environmental impact and the economic cost of several different pathways to import H2 from other European countries and from overseas to Germany. This includes production via renewable electrolysis (with various electricity sources) as well as conventional production via natural gas steam reforming. Besides the production, the whole logistics chain is analyzed from a lifecycle perspective (GHG/LCC analyses) for different transport modes (ship, truck-trailer, pipelines, refueling) as well as physical states of H2 (liquid, gaseous). Results are shown in kgCO2e/kg H2 and €/kg H2 for the years 2021, 2030 and 2035, respectively. The results show that the production of H2 cause the highest share of both GHG emissions and economic cost. Nevertheless, logistics and refueling play a significant role for both investigated metrices and may be decisive for the real future development. On short-term, gaseous H2 via truck-trailers probably proposes the option related with lowest cost. In mid-term and with higher H2 demand and thus, larger size of liquefaction plants, liquid H2 has great potential for further reduction of cost. In the long-term and with high demand, pipelines are proposing the cheapest and most flexible option.