Life Cycle Assessment and Water Footprint of Hydrogen Production Methods: From Conventional to Emerging Technologies

Andi Mehmeti, Athanasios Angelis-Dimakis, George Arampatzis, Stephen McPhail, Sergio Ulgiati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

A common sustainability issue, arising in production systems, is the efficient use of resources for providing goods or services. With the increased interest in a hydrogen (H2) economy, the life-cycle environmental performance of H2 production has special significance for assisting in identifying opportunities to improve environmental performance and to guide challenging decisions and select between technology paths. Life cycle impact assessment methods are rapidly evolving to analyze multiple environmental impacts of the production of products or processes. This study marks the first step in developing process-based streamlined life cycle analysis (LCA) of several H2 production pathways combining life cycle impacts at the midpoint (17 problem-oriented) and endpoint (3 damage-oriented) levels using the state-of-the-art impact assessment method ReCiPe 2016. Steam reforming of natural gas, coal gasification, water electrolysis via proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEM), solid oxide electrolyzer cell (SOEC), biomass gasification and reforming, and dark fermentation of lignocellulosic biomass were analyzed. An innovative aspect is developed in this study is an analysis of water consumption associated with H2 production pathways by life-cycle stage to provide a better understanding of the life cycle water-related impacts on human health and natural environment. For water-related scope, Water scarcity footprint (WSF) quantified using Available WAter REmaining (AWARE) method was applied as a stand-alone indicator. The paper discusses the strengths and weaknesses of each production pathway, identify the drivers of environmental impact, quantify midpoint environmental impact and its influence on the endpoint environmental performance. The findings of this study could serve as a useful theoretical reference and practical basis to decision-makers of potential environmental impacts of H2 production systems.
LanguageEnglish
Article number24
Number of pages19
JournalEnvironments
Volume5
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 6 Feb 2018

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water footprint
life cycle
hydrogen
environmental impact
assessment method
production system
water
life cycle analysis
biomass
fuel cell
footprint
fermentation
natural gas
electrokinesis
method
sustainability
oxide
membrane
damage
resource

Cite this

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abstract = "A common sustainability issue, arising in production systems, is the efficient use of resources for providing goods or services. With the increased interest in a hydrogen (H2) economy, the life-cycle environmental performance of H2 production has special significance for assisting in identifying opportunities to improve environmental performance and to guide challenging decisions and select between technology paths. Life cycle impact assessment methods are rapidly evolving to analyze multiple environmental impacts of the production of products or processes. This study marks the first step in developing process-based streamlined life cycle analysis (LCA) of several H2 production pathways combining life cycle impacts at the midpoint (17 problem-oriented) and endpoint (3 damage-oriented) levels using the state-of-the-art impact assessment method ReCiPe 2016. Steam reforming of natural gas, coal gasification, water electrolysis via proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEM), solid oxide electrolyzer cell (SOEC), biomass gasification and reforming, and dark fermentation of lignocellulosic biomass were analyzed. An innovative aspect is developed in this study is an analysis of water consumption associated with H2 production pathways by life-cycle stage to provide a better understanding of the life cycle water-related impacts on human health and natural environment. For water-related scope, Water scarcity footprint (WSF) quantified using Available WAter REmaining (AWARE) method was applied as a stand-alone indicator. The paper discusses the strengths and weaknesses of each production pathway, identify the drivers of environmental impact, quantify midpoint environmental impact and its influence on the endpoint environmental performance. The findings of this study could serve as a useful theoretical reference and practical basis to decision-makers of potential environmental impacts of H2 production systems.",
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Life Cycle Assessment and Water Footprint of Hydrogen Production Methods : From Conventional to Emerging Technologies. / Mehmeti, Andi; Angelis-Dimakis, Athanasios; Arampatzis, George; McPhail, Stephen; Ulgiati, Sergio.

In: Environments, Vol. 5, No. 2, 24, 06.02.2018.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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T1 - Life Cycle Assessment and Water Footprint of Hydrogen Production Methods

T2 - Environments

AU - Mehmeti, Andi

AU - Angelis-Dimakis, Athanasios

AU - Arampatzis, George

AU - McPhail, Stephen

AU - Ulgiati, Sergio

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