Developing a Lifecycle Emissions and Economic Analysis Tool for Hydrogen Production and Distribution Pathways for Road Transportation in California

Research Team: Timothy Lipman (lead) and Arpad Horvath

UC Campus(es): UC Berkeley

Problem Statement: Vehicle electrification is a pivotal component of California's strategy to address climate change and improve air pollution. While electric vehicles (EVs) powered by batteries are the primary focus, EVs that use hydrogen fuel cells are expected to play a significant role, especially for heavier vehicles like trucks, buses, delivery vans, and cargo handling equipment at ports. Additionally, both private and public sector entities in California have recently united under the Alliance for Renewable and Clean Hydrogen Energy Systems (ARCHES) to obtain a substantial grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. To support the ARCHES projects, as well as other hydrogen initiatives in California, there is a need for tools that practitioners and policymakers can use to understand (i) the lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions impacts of their projects; (ii) air pollution impacts including those on disadvantaged communities; (iii) jobs/labor impacts; and (iv) high-level project economics including ability to capture Low Carbon Fuel Standard credits and federal hydrogen production tax credits.

Project Description: This project will create the California Lifecycle and Techno-Economic Assessment for Hydrogen Pathways (CALTEA-H2) model, which will be tailored for use by practitioners and policymakers. This user-friendly, publicly accessible spreadsheet model will enable various stakeholders to transparently analyze the energy and environmental aspects of hydrogen pathways for transportation in California. The analysis will encompass the full lifecycle emissions, including upstream feedstock and materials, while also closely evaluating both greenhouse gas emissions and criteria pollutants. Criteria pollutants will also be assessed geographically within the state, pinpointing pollution impacts (and net benefits) in disadvantaged communities.

Status: In Progress

Budget: $179,000