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Bringing fuel cells to reality and reality to fuel cells: A systems perspective on the use of fuel cells
KTH, School of Chemical Science and Engineering (CHE), Chemical Engineering and Technology, Energy Processes.
2008 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other scientific)
Abstract [en]

With growing awareness of global warming and fear of political instability caused by oil depletion, the need for a society with a sustainable energy system has been brought to the fore. A promising technology often mentioned as a key component in such a system is the fuel cell technology, i.e. the energy conversion technology in focus in this thesis. The hopes and expectations on fuel cells are high and sometimes unrealistically positive. However, as an emerging technology, much remains to be proven and the proper use of the technology in terms of suitable applications, integration with society and extent of use is still under debate. This thesis is a contribution to the debate, presenting results from two fuel cell demonstration projects, looking into the introduction of fuel cells on the market, discussing the prospects and concerns for the near-term future and commenting on the potential use in a future sustainable energy system.

Bringing fuel cells to reality implies finding near-term niche applications and markets where fuel cell systems may be competitive. In a sense fuel cells are already a reality as they have been demonstrated in various applications world-wide. However, in many of the envisioned applications fuel cells are far from being competitive and sometimes also the environmental benefit of using fuel cells in a given application may be questioned. Bringing reality to fuel cells implies emphasising the need for realistic expectations and pointing out that the first markets have to be based on the currently available technology and not the visions of what fuel cells could be in the future.

The results from the demonstration projects show that further development and research on especially the durability for fuel cell systems is crucial and a general recommendation is to design the systems for high reliability and durability rather than striving towards higher energy efficiencies. When reliability and durability are achieved fuel cell systems may be introduced in niche markets where the added values presented by the technology compensate for the initial high cost.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH , 2008. , viii, 70 p.
Series
Trita-CHE-Report, ISSN 1654-1081 ; 2008:61
Keyword [en]
Assessment, CUTE, Demonstration projects, Emerging technology, Evaluation, Fuel cell buses, Fuel cell systems, Fuel cells, Hype, Interdisciplinary, Niche markets, PEM, Radical technologies, SOFC, Strategic niche markets, Sustainability
National Category
Energy Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-9192ISBN: 978-91-7415-108-4 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-9192DiVA: diva2:31752
Public defence
2008-10-24, F3 (Flodissalen), Lindstedtsvägen 26, KTH, Stockholm, 13:30 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Projects
Energy Systems ProgrammeClean Urban Transport for EuropeGlashusEtt
Note
QC 20100909Available from: 2008-10-13 Created: 2008-10-02 Last updated: 2010-09-09Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Energy system analysis of the fuel cell buses operated in the project: Clean Urban Transport for Europe
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Energy system analysis of the fuel cell buses operated in the project: Clean Urban Transport for Europe
2008 (English)In: Energy, ISSN 0360-5442, E-ISSN 1873-6785, Vol. 33, no 5, 689-711 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

During the project Clean Urban Transport for Europe (CUTE), which ended in May 2006, 27 fuel cell buses were operated in nine European cities. In this paper key performance parameters from the operation of the fuel cell buses in the project are reported, the energy system of the bus is analysed and drive cycle tests in five cities are presented and analysed. The focus of the paper is on fuel consumption and optimisation potential but experiences of, and recommendations for, evaluation in large demonstration projects are also presented. The results show that although the total fuel cell system efficiency was found to be high (36–41%), the fuel consumption was higher for the fuel cell buses than for diesel buses. Since the CUTE buses were a pre-commercial generation of fuel cell buses, with standard auxiliaries and extensive reliability measures, large fuel consumption reduction is possible. Suggestions on how to increase the efficiency is presented in this paper. Minimising the reliability measures would decrease fuel consumption by about 20% and lowering the weight by 2 tonnes would decrease fuel consumption by another 10%. Hybridisation in combination with using electrical auxiliaries could save an additional 5–10% or more.

Keyword
bus; CUTE; drive cycle; duty cycle; fuel cell; urban traffic
National Category
Vehicle Engineering Chemical Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-8318 (URN)10.1016/j.energy.2008.01.001 (DOI)000255316500002 ()2-s2.0-40849102347 (Scopus ID)
Note

QC 20150721

Available from: 2008-05-05 Created: 2008-05-05 Last updated: 2017-12-14Bibliographically approved
2. A First Report on the Attitude towards Hydrogen Fuel Cell Buses in Stockholm
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A First Report on the Attitude towards Hydrogen Fuel Cell Buses in Stockholm
2006 (English)In: International journal of hydrogen energy, ISSN 0360-3199, E-ISSN 1879-3487, Vol. 31, no 3, 317-325 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Surveys of the attitude towards hydrogen fuel cell buses among passengers and bus drivers were performed in Stockholm during the autumn of 2004. Another field survey of the attitude of the fuel cell bus passengers is planned towards the end of the CUTE Stockholm project, i.e. during the autumn of 2005.

The main results from the surveys are:

People are generally positive towards fuel cell buses and feel safe with the technology.

Newspapers and bus stops are where most people get information about the buses.

The passengers, furthermost those above the age of 40, desire more information about fuel cells and hydrogen.

The drivers are generally positive to the fuel cell bus project.

Although the environment is rated as an important factor, 64% of the bus passengers were not willing to pay a higher fee if more fuel cell buses were to be used.

Keyword
fuel cell buses; attitude; acceptance; survey
National Category
Vehicle Engineering Chemical Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-4992 (URN)10.1016/j.ijhydene.2005.11.008 (DOI)000236294700001 ()2-s2.0-30944444575 (Scopus ID)
Note

QC 20100721

Available from: 2005-03-07 Created: 2005-03-07 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved
3. A follow-up and conclusive report on the attitude towards hydrogen fuel cell buses in the CUTE project: From passengers in Stockholm to bus operators in Europe
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A follow-up and conclusive report on the attitude towards hydrogen fuel cell buses in the CUTE project: From passengers in Stockholm to bus operators in Europe
2007 (English)In: International journal of hydrogen energy, ISSN 0360-3199, E-ISSN 1879-3487, Vol. 32, no 17, 4295-4305 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper concerns the attitude towards the fuel cell bus and the hydrogen technology used in the CUTE project, represented by two passenger surveys performed in Stockholm, a survey performed among drivers in four cities and final statements as well as recommendations for future projects by project partners.

Main results are:

The passengers' willingness to pay for having more fuel cell buses in public transport was still low after one year of operation.

Concern about safety is not an issue among passengers or drivers.

The acceleration was rated as inferior to that of regular buses by 50% of the drivers; this differs from earlier findings in Stockholm.

The operators were pleased with the reliability of the buses and the trust in the new technology grew stronger during the project period. Main problems were lack of spare parts and insufficient information sharing due to confidentiality.

Keyword
hydrogen; fuel cell; buses; attitude; acceptance; CUTE
National Category
Vehicle Engineering Chemical Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-8321 (URN)10.1016/j.ijhydene.2007.07.050 (DOI)000251977800026 ()2-s2.0-36549011685 (Scopus ID)
Note

QC 20100721

Available from: 2008-05-05 Created: 2008-05-05 Last updated: 2017-12-14Bibliographically approved
4. Operating experience and energy system analysis of the biogas-powered 5 kW SOFC system in GlashusEtt
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Operating experience and energy system analysis of the biogas-powered 5 kW SOFC system in GlashusEtt
Show others...
2008 (English)In: Proceedings of the WREC X conference, 2008Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
National Category
Energy Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-9254 (URN)
Conference
WREC X conference
Note

QC 20100909

Available from: 2008-10-13 Created: 2008-10-13 Last updated: 2016-09-16Bibliographically approved
5. Key factors in planning a sustainable energy future including hydrogen and fuel cells
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Key factors in planning a sustainable energy future including hydrogen and fuel cells
Show others...
2006 (English)In: Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society, ISSN 0270-4676, E-ISSN 1552-4183, Vol. 26, no 4, 264-277 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this article, a number of future energy visions, especiallythose basing the energy systems on hydrogen, are discussed.Some often missing comparisons between alternatives, from asustainability perspective, are identified and then performedfor energy storage, energy transportation, and energy use invehicles. It is shown that it is important to be aware of thelosses implied by production, packaging, distribution, storage,and end-use of hydrogen when suggesting a "hydrogen economy."It is also shown that for stationary electric energy storage,fuel cell electrolyzers could be feasible. Zero-tailpipeemissionvehicles are compared. The battery electric vehicle has thehighest electrical efficiency, but other requirements implythat plug-in hybrids or fuel cell hybrids might be a betteroption in some types of vehicles. Finally, a simplified exampleis applied to the overall results and used to discuss the needsand nature of an energy system based on intermittent energysources. 

Keyword
sustainability, hydrogen, storage, intermittent, fuel cells, electric vehicles
National Category
Vehicle Engineering Chemical Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-8323 (URN)10.1177/0270467606290294 (DOI)
Note

QC 20100707

Available from: 2008-05-05 Created: 2008-05-05 Last updated: 2017-12-14Bibliographically approved
6. Strategies for a road transport system based on renewable resources: The case of an import-independent Sweden in 2025
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Strategies for a road transport system based on renewable resources: The case of an import-independent Sweden in 2025
2010 (English)In: Applied Energy, ISSN 0306-2619, E-ISSN 1872-9118, Vol. 87, no 6, 1836-1845 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

When discussing how society can decrease greenhouse gas emissions, the transport sector is often seen as posing one of the most difficult problems. In addition, the transport sector faces problems related to security of supply. The aim of this paper is to present possible strategies for a road transport system based on renewable energy sources and to illustrate how such a system could be designed to avoid dependency on imports, using Sweden as an example. The demand-side strategies considered include measures for decreasing the demand for transport, as well as various technical and non-technical means of improving vehicle fuel economy. On the supply side, biofuels and synthetic fuels produced from renewable electricity are discussed. Calculations are performed to ascertain the possible impact of these measures on the future Swedish road transport sector. The results underline the importance of powerful demand-side measures and show that although biofuels can certainly contribute significantly to an import-independent road transport sector, they are far from enough even in a biomass-rich country like Sweden. Instead, according to this study, fuels based on renewable electricity will have to cover more than half of the road transport sector's energy demand.

Keyword
Road transport; Import-independent; Biofuel; Synthetic fuel; Demand-side strategies
National Category
Chemical Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-9252 (URN)10.1016/j.apenergy.2010.02.011 (DOI)000278306300005 ()2-s2.0-77951091042 (Scopus ID)
Note
QC 20100823. Uppdaterad från submitted till published (20100823). Tidigare titel: Strategies for a road transport system based on renewable resources: the case of a self-sufficient Sweden in 2025Available from: 2008-10-13 Created: 2008-10-13 Last updated: 2017-12-11Bibliographically approved
7. Advantages of integration with industry for electrolytic hydrogen production
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Advantages of integration with industry for electrolytic hydrogen production
2007 (English)In: Energy, ISSN 0360-5442, E-ISSN 1873-6785, Vol. 32, no 1, 42-50 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper evaluates possible synergies with industry, such as heat and oxygen recovery from the hydrogen production. The hydrogen production technology used in this paper is electrolysis and the calculations include the cost and energy savings for integrated hydrogen production. Electrolysis with heat recovery leads to both cost reduction and higher total energy efficiencies of the hydrogen production. Today about 15–30% of the energy supplied for the production is lost and most of it can be recovered as heat. Utilization of the oxygen produced in electrolysis gives further advantages. The integration potential has been evaluated for a pulp and paper industry and the Swedish energy system, focusing on hydrogen for the transportation sector. The calculated example shows that the use of the by-product oxygen and heat greatly affects the possibility to sell hydrogen produced from electrolysis in Sweden. Most of the energy losses are recovered in the example; even gains in energy for not having to produce oxygen with cryogenic air separation are shown. When considering cost, the oxygen income is the most beneficial but when considering energy efficiency, the heat recovery stands for the greater part.

Keyword
Hydrogen production; Industry; Integration; Synergy; Co-generation; Hydrogen energy systems; Hydrogen economy
National Category
Energy Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-9253 (URN)10.1016/j.energy.2006.01.021 (DOI)000242413300005 ()2-s2.0-33749241512 (Scopus ID)
Note

QC 20100909

Available from: 2008-10-13 Created: 2008-10-13 Last updated: 2017-12-11Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
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  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
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  • en-US
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  • nn-NO
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  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
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