Hydrogen - The future fuel for construction equipment? : A well to tank analysis of hydrogen powered machine applications at Volvo CE

University essay from Mälardalens högskola/Akademin för ekonomi, samhälle och teknik; Mälardalens högskola/Akademin för ekonomi, samhälle och teknik

Abstract: As the world is moving towards a more sustainable energy perspective, construction equipment sees the requirement to change its current way of operation with fossil fuels to reduce its environmental impact. In order to pursue the electrification of construction equipment a dense power source is essential, where hydrogen powered fuel cells have the potential to be a sufficient energy source. This thesis work is carried out in order to find the least CO2 emissive pathway for hydrogen to various construction sites. This is done by collecting state of the art data for production, processing and storage technologies. With the assembled data an optimization model was developed using mixed integer linear programming. The technologies found that showed promising adaptability for construction equipment in the state of art regarding production were steam methane reforming (SMR), proton exchange membrane electrolyser (PEMEC) and alkaline electrolyser. They showed promising characteristics due to their high level of maturity and possibility for reducing the environmental impact compared to the current operation. To investigate the hydrogen pathway and its possibilities, four scenarios were created for four types of construction sites. The scenarios have different settings for distance, grid connection and share of renewables, where the operations have various energy profiles that is to be satisfied. The optimal hydrogen pathway to reduce the CO2 emissions according to the model, were either PEMEC on-site or gaseous delivery of SMR CCS produced hydrogen. The share of renewables in the energy mix showed to be an important factor to determine which of the hydrogen pathways that were chosen for the different scenarios. Moreover, in the long run PEMEC was considered to be a more sustainable solution due to SMR using natural gas as feedstock. It was therefore concluded that for a high share of renewables PEMEC was the optimal solution, where for a low share of renewables SMR CCS produced hydrogen was optimal as the energy mix would result in a more emissive operation when using PEMEC.

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