Fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) derive energy from the most plentiful element in the known universe: hydrogen. The powertrain of these vehicles have fewer moving parts, which means less maintenance will be required. FCEVs also emit no harmful gases into the environment, with the only byproduct of the hydrogen fuel cell being water. In addition, fuel cells can reduce the need for heavy electric vehicle (EV) batteries when compared to battery electric vehicles (BEV), cut down on recharging/refueling time (3 to 5 minutes), and provide a driving range of 300+ miles on a single refueling. FCEVs also have great performance, low maintenance and are eligible for state and federal rebates and incentives. Targets for FCEV (Fuel Cell Electric vehicle) deployment and hydrogen infrastructure development include public/private fleets, bus transit, and specialty vehicles.
Hydrogen can be produced using a wide variety of resources found here in the U.S. Hydrogen can be renewable and produced from waste, biomass, wind, solar, tidal, wave, and geothermal. Production technology includes electrolysis of water, steam reforming of natural gas, coal gasification, thermochemical production, and biological gasification. Producing hydrogen creates almost zero criteria pollutants and when used in a FCEV, reduces GHG emissions by at least half when compared to a conventional gasoline vehicle. When using renewables, GHGs (greenhouse gases) can be reduced by more than 90%
These zero emission FCEVs could replace existing conventional fleet vehicles in Connecticut, starting with 477 vehicles, providing annual carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions reduction of approximately 4,194 to 7,330 tons per year. FCEVs running on hydrogen, produced from renewable resources, virtually eliminate all GHG emissions compared to conventional fossil fuel powered vehicles. Passenger car emissions of CO2 are reduced by 4.75 metric tons CO2E /vehicle/year. Fuel cells also offer significant GHG reduction opportunities for heavy duty transit buses. A bus powered by hydrogen fuel cell technology run completely on hydrogen from renewable resources could displace 65 to 163 metric tons CO2E/vehicle/year of diesel bus emissions.
Government and industry are now investigating the use of hydrogen and renewable energy as a replacement of hydrocarbon fuels in the transportation section, which accounts for 32 percent of Connecticut’s total energy consumption. As these system sizes and applications increase, efficiency will increase resulting in more favorable economics and increased reliability.