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Life Cycle Analysis of Fuel Cell Technology
Fuel cells are recognized as an emerging power generation system for the future. Fuel cells make use of mostly hydrogen gas as their input fuel, which is extracted from various processes involving emissions and energy consumption. A complete understanding of environmental impacts associated with fuel cell during its entire life cycle, starting from extraction of fuel, through manufacturing, operation and ultimately to the disposal stage is greatly required. The current paper reviews various life cycle analysis studies on fuel cell technology. Such an approach would demand the support of informatics tools to analyze and manage information. The paper aims at assessing various environmental informatics tools available to support the life cycle studies. The paper investigates, in particular, the environmental contributions of various components and materials during the production process of hydrogen fuel. Energy requirements and reduction in air emissions have been studied in comparison with alternative technologies such as IC engines, wind and solar energy.
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