Stephenie B. Ritchey
Transportation Technology and Policy Graduate Group
Institute of Transportation Studies
One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616
TEL (510) 932-9086
As a graduate student in the Transportation Technology and Policy Graduate Program in the Institue of Transportation Studies (ITS-Davis) since January 2005, Stephenie performs research related to using hydrogen as a transportation fuel. She expects to complete an M.Sc. in Spring 2007.
She is also participating in an internship for the California Energy Commission's Public Interest Energy Research Program's Transportation Research Area, for which she is the acting project lead for developing a Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle Research Center at ITS-Davis.
Stephenie previously received an M.Sc. in Physics from UC Davis in Spring 2004, during which time she performed surfance science and materials science research at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
Existing Growth Opportunities in California for Hydrogen Transportation
Today’s hydrogen business offers an opportunity of high supply and demand growth into which could be planted the first seeds of a future hydrogen economy. There is potential in the existing hydrogen market to build upon it a hydrogen transportation fueling infrastructure in the event that a transition from internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEVs) to hydrogen fuel vehicles (HFVs) becomes desirable. This research seeks to illustrate the potential of the current hydrogen production infrastructure in California to fuel hydrogen vehicles in California and to explore strategies to supply hydrogen to vehicles from the existing production infrastructure.
Industrial gas companies are building large-scale hydrogen production facilities largely, if not specifically, to supply hydrogen to refineries. Consequently, the merchant hydrogen industry has been and is expected to continue growing at 10-15% per year. Refinery hydrogen demand has been growing at 4% per year because of increasing demand of cleaner burning fuels and to meet limits on sulfur content in refined fuels. Demand will continue to grow because of continuing growth of fuel demand as well as continuing growth in crude oil gravity. Historically, refineries have built their own hydrogen production facilities. However, this is a very capital-intensive process and therefore, industrial hydrogen, which comes with a guarantee and can be considered an operations and maintenance cost, has become the preferred method of hydrogen supply.
Since refinery hydrogen demand has been a primary driver of growth in the merchant hydrogen industry, it has thus far been the focus of this research. Using unsubstantiated estimates for current utilized capacity and for capacity constraint factors of required minimum and optimal excess of existing and new facilities, it is estimated that about 45,000 hydrogen fuel cell vehicles could be fueled using about 5% of the existing hydrogen production capacity of petroleum refineries in California. The primary goal of research this fall quarter will be to decrease the uncertainty of this estimate.
A. Specific progress and outputs from the reporting period (previous 3 months)
Using vehicle implementation scenarios developed by the DOE and capacity utilization estimates, a comparison has been made of the magnitudes of projected vehicle hydrogen demand growth and projected refinery hydrogen production capacity growth for both the Los Angeles Basin and the San Francisco Bay Area.
1. Papers and Presentations
This poster was presented at the Hydrogen Pathways Workshop Sept 26, 2006, ‘What Have We Learned from the Hydrogen Pathways Program?’
This poster was presented at the Hydrogen Pathways Program Advisory Board Meeting on July 25, 2006.
B. This Reporting Period's Research Goals
- Decrease the uncertainties in the analysis through interactions/interviews with representatives from the refining industry and the industrial gas industry to gain improved information on the following parameters:
§ Total production capacity
§ Capacity constraints such as minimum operational capacity and optimal excess capacity of existing and new production facilities
§ Capacity expansion requirements, strategies, and constraints
- Determine the potential cost of installing a small amount of additional capacity that could be dedicated to fueling hydrogen vehicles.
- Determine the role of other hydrogen demand sectors (ammonia, electronics, etc.) in annual growth and the construction of new merchant facilities.
A. Internship with the Public Interest Energy Research program (PIER) of the California Energy Commission (CEC)
I am assisting the CEC PIER program Transportation Research Area Program Manager in developing the new Transportation Research Area. In particular, I am assisting efforts to develop a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle research program to be funded by the new Transportation Research Area. This internship is expected to continue through my graduation from the Institute of Transportation Studies.