The idea of hydrogen-powered automobiles has been around for quite some time. Yet despite advances in technology, hydrogen cars haven’t caught on.
There are many reasons for this. The biggest, perhaps, is that hydrogen fuel-cell technology doesn’t have enough hydrogen infrastructure.
It’s easy to get behind hydrogen vehicles if you believe in alternative energy. Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, and when it’s burned, the only thing emitted from the tailpipe is water.
And hydrogen-powered vehicles are possible too – hydrogen fuel-cells have been around for decades. There are hydrogen-powered vehicles on the road in California, which gets much of its hydrogen from a facility in Los Angeles that extracts it from methane.
What’s a hydrogen car?
Hydrogen cars are hydrogen-powered vehicles that run on the abundant gas as fuel.
Hydrogen gas is used as an energy source to power the car’s engine and produce electricity. In turn, it powers the electric motors that propel the vehicle.
A hydrogen tank and hydrogen fuel cells work together to power the vehicle. When hydrogen is burned completely with oxygen – the car converts it into energy and water.
Since hydrogen is a clean fuel, hydrogen car engines produce no harmful by-products like carbon dioxide (CO2), the leading cause of global warming.
Hydrogen can be used in internal combustion engine vehicles in two ways:
- In combination with gasoline to reduce emissions
- With oxygen from the air to create hydrogen-powered fuel cells to generate electricity.
Hydrogen-combustion vehicles use hydrogen in the same way gasoline-powered cars do.
Advantages and disadvantages of hydrogen cars
The hydrogen economy has been described as the power source of the future. Many consider hydrogen-powered vehicles an essential step in promoting sustainable transportation.
Though hydrogen-fuel cell cars do not directly emit greenhouse gases, hydrogen isn’t completely clean. Furthermore, hydrogen fueling stations are still very scarce, limiting the cars’ success.
Hydrogen cars have several advantages over conventional vehicles. Hydrogen fuel cells provide a clean and efficient way to power a vehicle.
The hydrogen tanks in the vehicles allow the gas to be stored for later use. As such, drivers do not need to worry about finding hydrogen fueling stations as often as they need to.
Hydrogen-powered vehicles are also much lighter than conventional cars. Consequently, they require less energy to move. In fact, hydrogen-fuelled cars can accelerate faster than regular cars.
Despite their many advantages, hydrogen vehicles come with several disadvantages.
The biggest problem with these cars is a lack of hydrogen infrastructure.
Right now, hydrogen fueling stations are extremely rare – there are only nine in the entire state of California. This makes hydrogen automotives impractical because hydrogen can’t just be pumped into your gas tank.
It must be extracted from hydrogen-containing compounds and then compressed or liquefied before being stored onboard the vehicle.
For hydrogen alternative vehicles to become a viable option, hydrogen infrastructure will need to grow a lot. But if this happens, hydrogen-powered vehicles could be an excellent choice for those looking to reduce their carbon footprint.
Though hydrogen emits no harmful gases when burned, vehicles powered by hydrogen require more manufacturing materials than vehicles powered by electricity or natural gas. This increases their impact on the environment.
Alternative forms of transportation are becoming increasingly widespread because they reduce greenhouse emissions.
Electric cars, hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles, natural gas vehicles, hydrogen internal combustion engines, ICE hybrids, REx hybrids, full hydrogen hybrids, plug-in electric cars, and many other types of alternative transportation methods have increasingly grown in popularity due to their Eco-friendly properties.
Over time, we’re likely to see more sustainable fuels incorporated into the transport industry. Transportation is the single biggest contributor to greenhouse gases in the United States.
Hydrogen cars are increasingly popular due to their Eco-friendly properties but remain limited by their costly production process, which requires more materials.
Though hydrogen does not directly emit greenhouse gases, vehicles using the technology rely heavily on hydrogen fueling stations which makes these cars less environmentally friendly than initially thought.
Despite their many disadvantages, hydrogen-powered cars are still an important step in promoting sustainable transportation and could be used with renewable hydrogen sources in the future.