Electricity versus hydrogen for passenger cars under stringent climate change control

Hilke Rösler*, Bob Van der Zwaan, Ilkka Keppo, Jos Bruggink

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In this article we analyze how passenger car transportation in Europe may change this century under permanent high oil prices and stringent climate control policy. We focus on electricity and hydrogen as principal candidate energy carriers, because these two options are increasingly believed to become the long-term competitors in the transport sector. We complement a concise stylistic analysis with an in-depth investigation performed with the energy system optimization model TIAM-ECN, which we ran only for the European regions for this study. This bottom-up model, belonging to the TIMES family, has been adapted for the purpose of researching - amongst others - the transport sector. We particularly inspect the use of passenger cars and find that, if oil prices amount to 100-150. $/bl during the remainder of the century, the transport sector could be little affected in the sense that it may continue to rely predominantly on (liquid or gaseous) fossil fuels: our model suggests that it could be optimal to start replacing gasoline and diesel by natural gas around the middle of the century if sufficient oil and gas reserves are available within this price range. If the European Commission achieves implementing its ambitious carbon mitigation plan, however, a massive restructuring of the transport sector away from fossil fuels could take place, which in three decades would transform it to broadly rely on hydrogen as main energy carrier according to our model runs. Under a broad set of sensitivity scenarios with varying assumptions regarding our most important modeling parameters, we find that if battery costs are reduced by at least 60% in comparison to our reference cost decline path, the passenger car sector could predominantly run on electricity from around 2050.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-118
Number of pages13
JournalSustainable Energy Technologies and Assessments
Volume5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • Climate change
  • Electricity
  • Hydrogen
  • Oil prices
  • Transport sector

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