Document Type


Publication Date


Research Center

Energy Policy Center


Refueling infrastructure for early adopters of hydrogen vehicles finally appears to be imminent. There is a consensus among long haul trucking and transit agencies that hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles are likely to be the most cost-effective strategy for transitioning to low or zero emission fuels, especially in cold weather climates. Hydrogen refueling stations will require careful planning to ensure costs are low and that carbon dioxide emissions are minimized. Until such time that refueling stations are commonplace, the most likely scenario for mitigating both costs and carbon intensity will be local, on site hydrogen generation at the refueling stations.

This study was undertaken on behalf of Stark Area Regional Transit Authority (SARTA), which currently has a hydrogen refueling station on its campus in Canton, Ohio, to support a fleet of hydrogen fuel cell buses and paratransit vehicles (17 by 2021). The refueling facility is expected to require 500 kg/day of hydrogen to maintain this fleet, and could grow higher depending upon future fleet replacement. Currently, SARTA has liquid hydrogen delivered by truck from a large steam methane reformer in Ontario, Canada. The life cycle carbon dioxide emissions, while significantly lower than that from burning diesel, is relatively high from this strategy. SARTA seeks to identify, and if practicable, implement lower carbon emission strategies. Accordingly, SARTA commissioned this study through the Renewable Hydrogen Fuel Cell Collaborative to examine alternative scenarios to mitigate carbon emissions from hydrogen delivery.