December 21, 2005

Well-to-Wheels Analysis of Advanced Fuel/Vehicle Systems

Conducted in May, 2005, this cross-discipline study tabulated data that compares different fuel/vehicle systems for Well-to-Wheels energy usage and emissions. Below is the background behind this study. The title is linked to the entire report of 238 pages.


Well-to-Wheels Analysis of Advanced Fuel/Vehicle Systems — A North American Study of Energy Use, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, and Criteria Pollutant Emissions

Norman Brinkman, General Motors Corporation
Michael Wang, Argonne National Laboratory
Trudy Weber, General Motors Corporation
Thomas Darlington, Air Improvement Resource, Inc.

An accurate assessment of future fuel/propulsion system options requires a complete vehicle fuel-cycle analysis, commonly called a well-to-wheels (WTW) analysis. In this WTW study, we analyzed energy use and emissions associated with fuel production (or well-to-tank [WTT]) activities and energy use and emissions associated with vehicle operation (or tank-to-wheels [TTW]) activities. Energy resources, such as petroleum, natural gas (NG), coal, and biomass, as well as the energy carrier, electricity, are considered as feedstocks to produce various transportation fuels, including gasoline, diesel fuel, hydrogen (H2), ethanol (EtOH), compressed natural gas (CNG), methanol (MeOH), and Fischer-Tropsch (FT) diesel. The propulsion systems evaluated were spark-ignition (SI) engines, compression-ignition (CI) engines, hydrogen fuel cells, and fuel processor fuel cells, all in non-hybrid and hybrid electric configurations. This study updates and supplements a previous (2001) North American study, conducted by GM and others (General Motors [GM] et al. 2001), of energy consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with advanced vehicle/fuel systems (GM Phase 1 North American study). The primary purpose of this Phase 2 study is to address criteria pollutant emissions, including volatile organic compounds (VOCs), carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen oxides (NOx), particulate matter with a diameter smaller than 10 microns (PM10), and sulfur oxide emissions (SOx). We also updated the vehicle modeling for energy consumption with the latest powertrain maps and added some additional propulsion systems, such as hydrogen internal combustion engines (ICEs).

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