Rather, the Hydrogen Success scenario assumes that policy measures are enacted prior to 2020 to incentivize or require the control of CO2 emissions from the central stations used to produce hydrogen and that production from such plants begins around 2025, with hydrogen delivered by pipeline to refueling stations. Prior to that time, the production of hydrogen from distributed natural gas reformers results in CO2 emissions, although at half the level of today’s gasoline vehicles on a well-to-wheels basis.
CONCLUSION 6: While it will take several decades for HFCVs to have major impact, under the maximum practicable scenario fuel cell vehicles would lead to significant reductions in oil consumption and also significant reductions in CO2emissions if national policies are enacted to restrict CO2emissions from central hydrogen production plants. See Chapter 6.
The potential benefits of reduced oil consumption and CO2 emissions described above assume that HFCVs are deployed in increasing numbers according to the committee’s Hydrogen Success scenario. Since HFCVs initially are far more expensive than conventional vehicles, the financial subsidy required to deploy them (and thus achieve future benefits) depends strongly on how long it takes HFCVs to compete economically in the marketplace with conventional gasoline vehicles. To estimate that transition period, the committee first estimated the total annual expenditures needed to purchase and operate increasing numbers of HFCVs as shown in Figure S.1. The unit cost of fuel cell vehicles was assumed to decline along a learning curve with increasing production. Hydrogen supply costs also declined with increasing production. These costs included the cost of energy feedstocks and other operating costs, plus the capital cost of infrastructure