A well-to-wheel analysis is conducted for solar hydrogen production, transport, and usage in future passenger car transportation. Solar hydrogen production methods and selected conventional production technologies are examined using a life cycle assessment. Utilization of hydrogen in fuel cells is compared with advanced gasoline and diesel powertrains. Solar scenarios show distinctly lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than fossil-based scenarios. For example, using solar hydrogen in fuel cell cars reduces life cycle GHG emissions by 70% compared to advanced fossil fuel powertrains and by more than 90% if car and road infrastructure are not considered. Solar hydrogen production allows a reduction of fossil energy requirements by a factor of up to 10 compared to using conventional technologies. Major environmental impacts are associated with the construction of the steel-intensive infrastructure for solar energy collection due to mineral and fossil resource consumption as well as discharge of pollutants related to today’s steel production technology.

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