Life Cycle Assessment of PEM fuel cell vehicles
Document typeMaster thesis
Rights accessOpen Access
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This work presents a comprehensive life cycle assessment (LCA) of a polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) resembling the technical specifications of the Toyota Mirai. The entire life cycle of the vehicle is taken into account, differentiating three principal stages: manufacture, use phase, and end-of-life. In addition, hydrogen production and distribution are also considered. All main components of the FCEV are analyzed and inventoried in detail (LCI), with special focus on the fuel cell system. The environmental performance (LCIA) of the vehicle is calculated based on the ReCiPe 2008 characterization method, using the Umberto LCA+ software and the Ecoinvent 3.6 database. Results are presented for five different impact categories, showing that, both manufacture of the vehicle and hydrogen production, the major impact contributors are in all of the categories. This manufacture impact is significantly influenced by the amount of platinum used in the production of the catalyst, making it one of the key factors to reduce the generated life cycle impact of the FCEV. In turn, the impact of hydrogen production significantly depends on the origin of the electric source and the type of production process that is used. Additionally, a sensitivity test is carried out to further analyze both mentioned hotspots, presenting different improvement scenarios while accounting for the different assumptions and approximations made on the inventory.
DegreeMÀSTER UNIVERSITARI EN ENGINYERIA INDUSTRIAL (Pla 2014)