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By Vincent Rits, Socrates Kypreos and Alexander Wokaun


and PM emissions exceeding World Health Organisation's air quality standards. The environmental (dis-) performance of Chinese vehicles contributes largely to this problem. The fuel-cell system represents a technology that could eliminate much of the local air-pollution problem. However, the chances of fuel-cell cars during the next decades are still highly questioned. In this research, the diffusion of fuel-cell cars in China has been explored till 2045. The energy model MARKAL (MARKet ALlocation) has been combined with qualitative exploring methods, using a multi-disciplinary scenario approach. We identified the key factors and driving forces that influence the diffusion of fuel-cell cars in China, ranked them on importance and uncertainty, to finally generate four scenarios. The scenarios are based on the role of the Chinese government with regard to emission control, technology development, and fossil fuel prices. Scenario analyses confirm the widely claimed need for further technological development, but also find it insufficient. Moreover, it is found that the widespread diffusion of fuel-cell cars in China will first and only take place after 2025. Main conditions are firstly: the removal of technological and economic obstacles, the appearance of an initial niche market and the self-enforcement of diffusion (with consensus among the important actors), driven by the technological development. Secondly: either high price of fossil fuels (energy resource scarcity) is required or (very) strict environmental regulations by the Chinese government-i.e. a breakthrough of the present policy trend. Key Words: Fuel-cell car, Passenger car, China, Scenario, MARKAL 1

Year: 2003
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