Sustainability Assessment of Innovative Energy Technologies – Hydrogen from Wind Power as a Fuel for Mobility Applications

Original scientific paper

Journal of Sustainable Development of Energy, Water and Environment Systems
Volume 9, Issue 3, 1080371
Christina Wulf , Petra Zapp
Institute of Energy and Climate Research – Systems Analysis and Technology Evaluation Forschungszentrum Jülich, Jülich, Germany


An approach for life-cycle-based sustainability assessment for innovative energy technologies was developed that includes Life Cycle Assessment, economic assessment and selected social indicators, i.e. acceptance, patents and added value. As a case study for this approach, hydrogen supply by wind powered electrolysis was assessed and different distribution options to its final use in fuel cell vehicles were compared. First results of the Life Cycle Assessment show that lowest environmental impacts are caused by transporting hydrogen in pipelines, which is also the most cost-effective option. The preliminary survey about hydrogen refuelling stations showed that the fear of explosions is most relevant to people. Regarding added value, it could be revealed that a slight shift from domestic to more globalised expenditures is to be expected in the future. It can be concluded that hydrogen supply by pipelines is the most sustainable option. However, for the implementation of this technology, social issues such as acceptance of hydrogen filling stations and decrease of local employment have to be addressed.

Keywords: sustainability assessment, Life Cycle Thinking, hydrogen, patent analysis, public perception, economic assessment, mobility, Life Cycle Assessment

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