This work uses harmonised life-cycle indicators of hydrogen to explore its role in the environmental performance of proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) passenger vehicles. To that end, three hydrogen fuel options were considered: (i) conventional, fossil-based hydrogen from steam methane reforming; (ii) renewable hydrogen from biomass gasification; and (iii) renewable hydrogen from wind power electrolysis. In order to increase the robustness of the life-cycle study, the environmental profile of each hydrogen option was characterised by three harmonised indicators: carbon footprint, non-renewable energy footprint, and acidification footprint. When enlarging the scope of the assessment according to a well-to-wheels perspective, the results show that the choice of hydrogen fuel significantly affects the life-cycle performance of PEMFC vehicles. In this regard, the use of renewable hydrogen –instead of conventional hydrogen from steam methane reforming– is essential when pursuing low carbon and energy footprints. Nevertheless, the identification of the most favourable renewable hydrogen option was found to be conditioned by the prioritised life-cycle indicators.
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