Examining Hydrogen Production Pathways and Use in Vehicles

Background and Challenge

The use of hydrogen as a low carbon energy vector is gaining interest across economy-wide sectors including road transport. Assessing the well-to-wheel (WTW) carbon and energy performance of different hydrogen supply chains in hydrogen vehicles is essential for informing both policy development and fleet operators in terms of new vehicle choice once supply chains expand. 

There are a wide range of pathways to produce, distribute, and store low carbon hydrogen. However, UK-specific data sets related to the carbon intensity and energy demand are largely absent. This study seeks to bridge the gap by providing representative greenhouse gas (GHG) emission factors (well-to-tank) for a range of low carbon hydrogen pathways. The study will also gather hydrogen consumption values (tank-to-wheel) from a variety of powertrains and vehicle segments to enable a complete WTW energy efficiency analysis to be undertaken.

The project will conclude by extending the appraisal of hydrogen beyond WTW and start to examine whole vehicle life cycle CO2e analysis.


  • To undertake a low carbon hydrogen well-to-tank (WTT) pathways study to generate robust and representative GHG emission and energy demand data sets.
  • To collate hydrogen consumption data from a range of vehicle segments and powertrains.
  • To compare WTW GHG and energy efficiency performance of different low carbon hydrogen pathways in vehicle propulsion systems, with the potential to extend this further to cover a wider range of zero emission technologies and low carbon fuels.
  • To integrate hydrogen vehicles into Zemo Partnership’s vehicle life cycle GHG emission model and associated technology comparative studies.

Actions and Outputs

  • Create a WTW GHG emissions and energy efficiency model.
  • Deliver a paper presenting WTW GHG emissions and energy efficiency for a variety of hydrogen vehicles using different low carbon hydrogen supply chains.
    Hydrogen Vehicle Well-to-Wheel GHG and Energy Study

    Zemo Hydrogen Vehicle Well-to-Wheel GHG and Energy Study 2021

  • Expand the Zemo Partnership Life Cycle Analysis tool to include hydrogen fuel cell technology.
  • Host a webinar to disseminate the WTW hydrogen in vehicles study including the low carbon pathways work.
  • Host a webinar to present the vehicle life cycle GHG analysis work covering different vehicle segments, powertrains, low carbon fuels and energy vectors.


April 2021 – July 2021

Gloria Esposito

Zemo Partnership Lead:
Gloria Esposito

Head of Sustainability

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