Hydrogen as an energy carrier and the subjects of electromobility and bio-fuels are parts of a whole bundle of options that the federal government is focusing on during the transition to climate-neutral and sustainable mobility. In order to counteract that various energy options and fields of action simply run undifferentiated and parallel to one another, the Federal Ministry for Transport has recently initiated the Mobility and Fuel Strategy (Mobilitäts- und Kraftstoffstrategie — MKS) dialogue. Its goal is to comprehensively bring together specialist knowledge, bundle a variety of activities and to introduce partners in a targeted manner in order to ultimately develop a consistent and sustainable strategy for mobility of the future.

The key area of focus lies in the technical developments that will make a significant contribution towards supply reliability, increased efficiency and CO2 reduction upon successful market introduction.

From where will the hydrogen for the transport infrastructure come from? How will it be produced and distributed? Is it possible to calculate the expected reduction in CO2 emissions today? Is Germany’s ambitious climate goal of reducing greenhouse gasses by 80 % by 2050 compared to the level in 1990 realistic?

The »TREMOD-GermanHy« study attempts to answer these and other questions independently and from a technical-scientific basis. It is coordinated by the Federal Highway Research Institute (BASt–Bundesanstalt für Straßenwesen) and conducted jointly with the Heidelberg Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IFEU — Institut für Energie und Umwelt), the Fraunhofer Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI), Ludwig-Bölkow-Systemtechnik GmbH (LBST) and the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy (WI — Institut für Klima, Umwelt und Energie).

The previous study on hydrogen as a source of energy »GermanHy — where does hydrogen come from in Germany« (GermanHy — woher kommt der Wasserstoff in Deutschland) comprised the starting point of the task. The fundamental aspects such as industrial production and transport routes, as well as the associated energy consumption and emissions were here brought together, quantified and evaluated. An outlook to the year 2050 is provided on how market developments for hydrogen as a source of energy for the transport sector could look like and the effect various politicaleconomic factors could have on the dynamics of this development. However, »GermanHy« could only present a general basis for the introductory scenario into the hydrogen age in the form of overall energy requirements for transport, which primarily stems from the driving development prognoses of the pilot study conducted in 2010. But which concrete introductory scenarios need to be supported over the coming years, with what level of momentum would the number of vehicles increase, and how would the composition of the vehicle fleet in the field look like in order to fulfil the prognoses provided by the »GermanHy« study until the year 2050?

The »TREMOD« (TRansport EMission MODel) transport emission model provides the necessary simulation system to develop a hydrogen scenario based on a differentiated quantity structure of fuel cell vehicles of various segments. While perhaps not representing the last word on the questions raised here, »TREMOD« provides a significantly more vivid and realistic illustration of the future development of vehicle numbers than was previously possible.

»TREMOD« was originally commissioned by the Federal Environment Agency (UBA — Umweltbundesamt) from the Heidelberg-based IFEU. In its most current version, it represents the foundation for the official emission reporting of the government (the UBA national emission inventory) and bases its data on databases from the Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA — Kraftfahrtbundesamt), the Energy Balances Working Group (AG Energiebilanzen) and examinations such as »Mobility in Germany« (Mobilität in Deutschland), »Transport in Numbers« (Verkehr in Zahlen) and the regularly conducted traffic counts and mileage assessments of the BASt. As a database expert system, »TREMOD« has been providing the benchmark in terms of transport emission modelling assessments in Germany for more than 15 years and its data regularly updated together by the BASt and UBA.

Not only is the entire inventory of German vehicles recorded each year in »TREMOD« according to vehicle segment and class, but also the specific mileages and emissions of the vehicles including those accrued in the upstream chain and during the production of the consumed fuel. In addition, empirical information such as that new vehicles are driven more kilometres than older models, luxury cars more than their compact counterparts, diesel models more than petrol-driven ones, etc., is taken into account. The model determines emissions and consumption in such a way, that according to the vehicle segment, the aspects of mileage, traffic situation, road categories and pitch are differentiated and linked back with the corresponding emission and consumption factors and finally aggregated.

The trend scenario allows for a projection of the inventory of vehicles and mileage covered for each year into the future. As such, scenarios are possible that, for example, incorporate a new vehicle stock that is introduced to the fleet, which replaces a part of the old stock.

Key task of the »TREMOD-GermanHy« project was to transpose the hydrogen transport scenario from the previous »GermanHy« study into a new vehicle inventory, which while still fictional was relatively concrete due to the specific data available in terms of mileage and consumption. The future fuel cell vehicles were to be available in three segments (small, medium and large). In terms of their technical characteristics (consumption, service life) and introduction into the overall vehicle inventory, a range of assumptions needed to be determined, always so, however, that the consistency of the scenario concerning interaction with alternative drives, the primary energy availability and economical fundamentals, was ensured.

The following illustrations provide an overview of the main study conclusions. Consequence of the transition in passenger vehicles to largely fuel cell, plug-in hybrid or battery-electric drives by 2050, a reduction in CO2 emissions of more than 100 million tons compared with today’s levels could be modelled, which represents a decrease of more than 80 % of greenhouse gas emissions produced by passenger vehicles.

The study does not, however, provide answers to the question concerning under what conditions such a strategy can be implemented, and in particular, how realistic the assumed introduction strategy really is given the existing restrictions (costs, regulatory framework, acceptance, technology and safety). This requires further information and insights. With the current »TREMOD«, an instrument exists with which such details can be modelled in greater depth and allows the effect on greenhouse gas emissions to be calculated.

Funding Code

Partner Start of term End of term Funding amount
ifeu - Institut für Energie- und Umweltforschung Heidelberg gGmbH01.10.1031.12.12219,779.00 €
219,779.00 €