Hydrogen cars like the Hyundai NEXO, Honda Clarity Fuel Cell and Toyota Mirai are the future of new vehicles and they’re finally becoming more available for mass market. Currently, models are only available at select dealerships, but the tires are on the pavement and that’s all it takes for an industry revolution.
Similar to electric cars, the hydrogen powered vehicle market is at the brim of exploding. Fuel cell cars use hydrogen to power the vehicle. Hydrogen is a relatively abundant resource, which should make them affordable as the market expands and fueling infrastructure improves.
Foreign auto makers like Toyota, Hyundai and Honda have made a long-term commitment to hydrogen vehicles. Hydrogen makes up an estimated 90% of all atoms in the known universe, so harnessing the power of hydrogen would change the outlook of travel and costs indefinitely.
Fuel Cell Hydrogen Car Technology
Fuel cell technology for hydrogen cars can be a great alternative to fossil fuels. Hydrogen can be produced locally, thus reducing the need to transport fossil fuels. This fuel is readily available and non-polluting. It can also be used for industrial applications and domestic heating. Its many advantages make hydrogen an attractive alternative to conventional fuels, including the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The cost of hydrogen fuel is currently quite high, but that will eventually fall as the market grows and the technology matures. This technology is also extremely efficient, delivering 70 miles per kilogram, which is double the gas equivalent of gasoline. The retail price of hydrogen fuel has not yet been established, but suppliers estimate that prices will be as low as $10 per kilogram in the early stages of the market.
Cost of Fuel Cells
Fuel cell electric cars are a great way to reduce the cost of fuel. These cars use hydrogen to power their electric motors. They are available for every vehicle class. While a hydrogen fuel cell car has high operating costs, it can drive for up to 28 miles on a single pound.
With industrialization, the cost of fuel cells for hydrogen cars will continue to come down. Fuel cell systems consist of parts made from steel, carbon and aluminum.
Infrastructure Needed for Hydrogen Car Fueling Stations
Developing the infrastructure for fueling stations for hydrogen cars is a long process, with initial costs are estimated at around $1 million per station. But once the hydrogen industry is well established and the market has matured, these stations can be profitable investments.
Hydrogen fuel cell cars are becoming more popular, which means increased demand for hydrogen fueling stations. The Department of Energy, along with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories, is working to develop hydrogen infrastructure that is ready for hydrogen vehicles and their owners. It is also supporting the H2USA project, a public-private partnership, which aims to develop hydrogen infrastructure nationwide.
Environmental Benefits of Hydrogen Fuel Cell Cars
Hydrogen cars are environmentally friendly and are much quieter than conventional internal combustion engines. Although there are some disadvantages to hydrogen power, it is also a highly sustainable and low-carbon source. Hydrogen cars also produce less visual pollution than their internal combustion counterparts and the energy is renewable.
Hydrogen cars are more energy-efficient than many other sources, generating more energy per pound of fuel. In comparison, conventional gasoline and diesel engines produce emissions that include nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons and particulate matter, which are all harmful to the environment. In addition, hydrogen fuel cell cars use less fuel, meaning they reduce overall pollution levels and increase the range of electric cars.
While there are still some concerns, hydrogen cars have the potential to be a greener alternative to electric vehicles. They can replace any battery in a car, meaning that they could eliminate the need for a separate battery in all but the smallest models. They also offer greater range than electric vehicles and are already being used as ‘range-extenders’ in many electric vehicles. In addition, hydrogen fuel cells don’t suffer from the effects of external temperature and do not degrade when exposed to cold or extreme heat. And they can be charged and ready for use in minutes, rather than hours.
Future of Hydrogen Fuel Cell Cars
Fuel cell cars have a number of advantages over battery powered cars. A fuel cell engine works through the natural attraction between hydrogen and oxygen molecules. Positive hydrogen particles pass through a membrane in the fuel cell, splitting off the negative hydrogen particles to create a flow of electrons that powers the motor. When the vehicle is finished driving, the negative hydrogen particles reunite to form water, the only emission from a hydrogen car.
The hydrogen used to fuel hydrogen fuel cell cars is a renewable, blue gas. As an energy carrier, hydrogen is an excellent choice for carbon-neutral societies, which aim to reduce the net emissions of fossil fuels.
While we do not see as many hydrogen vehicles on our roadways around C&H Foreign Auto as we do other forms of transport, we look forward to the future and the foreign makers are saying it’s in hydrogen!