Master of Environmental Studies Capstone Projects


Diana S. Swidler

Document Type


Date of this Version



The depletion of natural resources, the impact of human activities on the environment, and the expected increase in global energy consumption are primary concerns to be considered when finding new alternatives to the nation’s energy mix. In this context, hydrogen could potentially be one of the primary sustainable fuels of the future. Hydrogen is considered a clean and efficient energy carrier since its combustion releases zero emissions. It is the most abundant element in the universe, and it can be produced from a variety of processes/technologies, ensuring its production everywhere. The recent development in technologies has allowed for using hydrogen as a transportation fuel, marking what it could be the beginning of a revolution in the vehicle industry. This capstone aims to study the current situation of the hydrogen refueling market in California, an early adopter of Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs), followed by an analysis of the environmental impact of two production processes to produce hydrogen; the steam methane reforming and the electrolysis. For this purpose, a review of the market and industry of the hydrogen in California will be performed, followed by a life cycle assessment of the life cycle of hydrogen, from well to pump. It is urged that in theses earlier phases of commercialization and market creation, governments activate the right political mechanisms to ensure that the ultimate goal of the hydrogen economy is its production from renewable sources.


hydrogen, California, transportation



Date Posted: 02 December 2020