TABLE 4-1 Estimated Cost of Elements for Transportation, Distribution, and Off-Board Storage of Hydrogen for Fuel Cell Vehicles—Present and Future

Case

Production Costs ($/kg)

Distribution Costs ($/kg)

Dispensing Costs ($/kg)

Total Dispensing and Distribution Costs ($/kg)

Total Costs ($/kg)

Total Energy Efficiency (%)

Centralized Production, Pipeline Distribution

 

Natural gas reformer

 

Today

1.03

0.42

0.54

0.96

1.99

72

Future

0.92

0.31

0.39

0.70

1.62

78

Natural gas + CO2 capture

 

Today

1.22

0.42

0.54

0.96

2.17

61

Future

1.02

0.31

0.39

0.70

1.72

68

Coal

 

Today

0.96

0.42

0.54

0.96

1.91

57

Future

0.71

0.31

0.39

0.70

1.41

66

Coal + CO2 capture

 

Today

1.03

0.42

0.54

0.96

1.99

54

Future

0.77

0.31

0.39

0.70

1.45

61

Distributed Onsite Production

 

Natural gas reformer

 

Today

 

 

 

 

3.51

56

Future

 

 

 

 

2.33

65

Electrolysis

 

Today

 

 

 

 

6.58

30

Future

 

 

 

 

3.93

35

Liquid H2 Shipment

 

Today

 

1.80

0.62

2.42

 

 

Future

 

1.10

0.30

1.40

 

 

Gasoline (for reference)

$0.93/gal refined

 

 

$0.19/gal

$1.12/gal

Well to tank: 79.5%

NOTES: The energy content of 1 kilogram of hydrogen (H2) approximately equals the energy content of 1 gallon of gasoline. Details of the analysis of the committee’s estimates in this table are presented in Chapter 5 and Appendix E of this report; see the discussion in this chapter.

line transmission of hydrogen is expected to be more capital-intensive than pipeline transmission of natural gas because of the need for pipes at least 50 percent greater in diameter to achieve the equivalent energy transmission rate, and because of the likelihood that more costly steel and valve metal seal connections will be required for pipelines for hydrogen in order to avoid long-term embrittlement and possibilities of leakage. As the shipments of hydrogen grow from today’s low levels to the amounts required to support full-fledged fuel cell vehicle use, major transportation safety code revisions will undoubtedly be required (see Chapter 9).

Table 4-1 presents selected data from the committee’s estimates for the costs to deliver hydrogen to fuel cell vehicles (see Chapter 5 and Appendix E). The table summarizes the committee’s assessment of today’s technology costs and possible future costs based on improvements through development and research for the following cases:

  • Centralized production, followed by pipeline distribution and dispensing of gaseous molecular hydrogen. Natural gas and coal are the raw materials, and costs are given with and without CO2 by-product capture and storage.6

  • Distributed onsite production by natural gas reforming or electrolysis of water.

  • Over-the-road shipment costs of cryogenic liquid hydrogen. This mode is expected to be used in the early stages of hydrogen supply to filling depots and stations.

  • Gasoline distribution and dispensing via today’s infrastructure is shown for reference.

6  

The cost of capturing CO2 in a natural-gas-to-hydrogen plant is roughly three times that of a coal-gasification-to-hydrogen plant owing to greater added capital costs related to CO2 capture in the natural gas plant (monoethanolamine [MEA] scrubber plus CO2 compressor) versus that of the coal plant (compressor only). In addition, the natural gas reformer plant pays a greater efficiency penalty than does the coal plant (relative to the case in which CO2 is vented), so its increase in variable costs (feed and fuel) is greater.



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