Comparative Life Cycle Assessment of Propulsion Systems for Heavy-Duty Transport Applications

Sam Simons, Ulugbek Azimov*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
9 Downloads (Pure)


To meet climate change challenges, the UK government is aiming to reach zero emissions by 2050. The heavy-duty transportation sector contributes 17% to the UKs total emissions, so to combat this, alternative power units to traditional fossil fuel-reliant internal combustion engines (ICEs) are being utilized and investigated. Hydrogen fuel cells are a key area of interest to try and reduce these transportation emissions. To gain a true view of the impact that hydrogen fuel cells can have, this study looks at the impact the manufacturing of a fuel cell has upon the environment, from material extraction through to the usage phase. This was done through the use of a lifecycle assessment following ISO 14040 standards, with hydrogen systems being compared to alternative systems. This study has found that whilst fuel cells depend upon energy intensive materials for their construction, it is possible to reduce emissions by 34–87% compared to ICE systems, depending upon the source of hydrogen used. This study shows that hydrogen fuel cells are a viable option for heavy-duty transport that can be utilized to meet the target emissions reduction level by 2050.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3079
Number of pages18
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 25 May 2021


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