Conclusions

Our preliminary estimates of FCEV fuel economy are consistent with the Directed Technologies' assessment (11), indicating that FCEVs with on-board gasoline POX and methanol steam reformers have significantly lower fuel economy than vehicles using compressed H2 storage. This loss of efficiency may be the cost of enabling FCEVs to achieve modest near-term market penetration without requiring significant changes in the transportation fuel distribution infrastructure. It must be emphasized that there are large uncertainties in many of the parameters used in this initial analysis. Nevertheless, the basic trends are not likely to change significantly as the modeling becomes more refined or the parameters more tightly determined, particularly if they are based on current technology. The results clearly indicate areas where technological advances will have the largest impact, for example, increasing the efficiency and decreasing the weight of the fuel processor. Future work will examine the effect of peaking devices as well as economic considerations.

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