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Environmental aspects of conventional, hybrid, electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles


Autore: M. Granovskii, I. Dincer, M.A. Rosen

Collana: BT - 34 - Mag 06 - Energy: production, distribution and conservation

Published data from various sources are used to perform economic and environmental comparisons of four types of vehicles: conventional, hybrid, electric and hydrogen fuel cell. The production and utilization stages of the vehicles are taken into consideration. The comparison is based on a mathematical procedure which includes normalization of economic indicators (prices of vehicles and fuels during the vehicle life and driving range) and environmental indicators (greenhouse gas and air pollution emissions), and evaluation of an optimal relationship between the types of vehicles in the fleet.
According to the comparison, hybrid and electric cars is advantages over the other types. The economic efficiency and environmental impact of electric car use depends substantially on the source of the electricity. If the electricity comes from renewable energy sources, the electric car is advantageous compared to the hybrid. If electricity comes from fossil fuels, the electric car remains competitive only if the electricity is generated with an efficiency of about 50/60% by a gas turbine engine connected to a high-capacity battery and an electric motor, the electric car becomes advantageous. Implementation of fuel cells stacks and ion conductive membranes into gas turbine cycles permits electricity generation to increase to the above mentioned level and air pollution emissions to decrease. It is concluded that the electric car with on-board electricity generation represents a significant and flexible advance in the development of efficient and ecologically benign vehicles.

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