We estimate the co-benefits of AEV utilization for air quality, health, and climate, and evaluate the economic benefits of AEV penetration with various levels of decarbonized electricity in China. We find that air quality and GHG mitigation co-benefits through alternative energy vehicle deployment increases as the power sector decarbonized. Cobenefits are maximized via high penetration of AEV deployment powered with ambitious and rapid power sector decarbonization.
Hydrogen fuel cells, as an energy source for heavy duty vehicles, are gaining attention as a potential carbon mitigation strategy. Here we calculate the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of the Chinese heavy-duty truck fleet under four hydrogen fuel cell heavy-duty truck penetration scenarios from 2020 through 2050. We introduce Aggressive, Moderate, Conservative and No Fuel Cell Vehicle (No FCV) scenarios. Under these four scenarios, the market share of heavy duty trucks powered by fuel cells will reach 100%, 50%, 20% and 0%, respectively, in 2050. We go beyond previous studies which compared differences in GHG emissions from different hydrogen production pathways. We now combine an analysis of the carbon intensity of various hydrogen production pathways with predictions of the future hydrogen supply structure in China along with various penetration rates of heavy-duty fuel cell vehicles. We calculate the associated carbon intensity per vehicle kilometer travelled of the hydrogen used in heavy-duty trucks in each scenario, providing a practical application of our research. Our results indicate that if China relies only on fuel economy improvements, with the projected increase in vehicle miles travelled, the GHG emissions of the heavy-duty truck fleet will continue to increase and will remain almost unchanged after 2025. The Aggressive, Moderate and Conservative FCV Scenarios will achieve 63%, 30% and 12% reductions, respectively, in GHG emissions in 2050 from the heavy duty truck fleet compared to the No FCV Scenario. Additional reductions are possible if the current source of hydrogen from fossil fuels was displaced with increased use of hydrogen from water electrolysis using non-fossil generated electricity.
Natural gas vehicles (NGVs) have been promoted in China to mitigate air pollution, yet our measurements and analyses show that NGV growth in China may have significant negative impacts on climate change. We conducted real-world vehicle emission measurements in China and found high methane emissions from heavy-duty NGVs (90% higher than current emission limits). These emissions have been ignored in previous emission estimates, leading to biased results. Applying our observations to life-cycle analyses, we found that switching to NGVs from conventional vehicles in China has led to a net increase in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions since 2000. With scenario analyses, we also show that the next decade will be critical for China to reverse the trend with the upcoming China VI standard for heavy-duty vehicles. Implementing and enforcing the China VI standard is challenging, and the method demonstrated here can provide critical information regarding the fleet-level CH4 emissions from NGVs.
The number of vehicles in China has been increasing rapidly. We evaluate the impact of current and possible future vehicle emissions from China on Asian air quality. We modify the Regional Emission Inventory in Asia (REAS) for China’s road transport sector in 2000 using updated Chinese data for the number of vehicles, annual mileage, and emission factors. We develop two scenarios for 2020: a scenario where emission factors remain the same as they were in 2000 (No-Policy, NoPol), and a scenario where Euro 3 vehicle emission standards are applied to all vehicles (except motorcycles and rural vehicles). The Euro 3 scenario is an approximation of what may be the case in 2020 as, starting in 2008, all new vehicles in China (except motorcycles) were required to meet the Euro 3 emission standards. Using the Weather Research and Forecasting model coupled with Chemistry (WRF/Chem), we examine the regional air quality response to China’s vehicle emissions in 2000 and in 2020 for the NoPol and Euro 3 scenarios. We evaluate the 2000 model results with observations in Japan, China, Korea, and Russia. Under NoPol in 2020, emissions of carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen oxides (NOx), non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs), black carbon (BC), and organic carbon (OC) from China’s vehicles more than double compared to the 2000 baseline. If all vehicles meet the Euro 3 regulations in 2020, however, these emissions are reduced by more than 50 % relative to NoPol. The implementation of stringent vehicle emission standards leads to a large, simultaneous reduction of the surface ozone (O3) mixing ratios and particulate matter (PM2.5) concentrations. In the Euro 3 scenario, surface O3 is reduced by more than 10 ppbv and surface PM2.5 is reduced by more than 10 µg m−3 relative to NoPol in Northeast China in all seasons. In spring, surface O3 mixing ratios and PM2.5 concentrations in neighboring countries are also reduced by more than 3 ppbv and 1 µg m−3 , respectively. We find that effective regulation of China’s road transport sector will be of significant benefit for air quality both within China and across East Asia as well.