Hydrogen Cars Continue to Progress
Hydrogen cars continue to be manufactured by auto dealers and patronized by green consumers as efforts to lessen dependence on fossil fuels.
Hydrogen may be generated from fossil fuels to make an energy supply that is almost free from carbon emissions. Hydrogen may also be generated from other renewable sources like biomass or through electrolyzing water or through natural gas.
Vehicles powered by hydrogen are more efficient than traditional internal combustion engines with the added benefit of having only water for their emissions. One kilogram of hydrogen gas is said to generate around the same amount of energy in a gallon of gasoline.
Hydrogen cars may convert hydrogen to mechanical energy or power through two ways. One is through hydrogen internal combustion engine vehicles (HICEV) or an altered version of a conventional gasoline internal combustion engine to enable it to run on hydrogen. A more common way for hydrogen vehicles, though, is through fuel-cells.
Fuel cell vehicles are like electric vehicles because they use electricity for powering motors that are situated near the vehicle’s wheels.
The most common fuel cell type for vehicles is the polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cell. The PEM features an electrolyte membrane placed between a positive electrode called a cathode and a negative electrode called an anode. Hydrogen is established at the anode while oxygen is launched at the cathode. The hydrogen molecules pass through the membrane to the cathode whilst removing the electrons from the hydrogen molecules. The electrons will then go through an external circuit to rejoin hydrogen ions on the cathode side where hydrogen ions, electrons and oxygen molecules are mixed to produce water. The electrons create the electric current that is needed for powering a vehicle.
Fuel cell vehicles can either be powered with pure hydrogen gas stored on the vehicle directly or from a secondary fuel that transmits hydrogen like methanol, ethanol, or natural gas.
To make a hydrogen transport system work, it is important that two things be developed: an efficient and extensive hydrogen highway and a dependable hydrogen vehicle.
Hydrogen highways are a series of hydrogen filling stations on a well-known route. It is essential to develop hydrogen highways to promote use of hydrogen vehicles especially since hydrogen has a small amount of energy by volume.
To liken a hydrogen fuel to a normal fuel, it needs a very large tank for refuelling quickly and often.
Right now, the majority of hydrogen cars or vehicles using hydrogen fuel are still in the prototype stage or are available for a limited amount of time.
Audi had launched the Audi Hydrogen A2 Car, a small sports car that uses a Ballard PEM fuel cell stack with a top speed of 109 miles per hour and a range of 137 miles.
Chrysler released a hybrid, the ecoVoyager, which uses a 45-kilowatt fuel cell stack and a 268-horsepower electric motor. It can run its first 40 miles on electricity before getting assistance from fuel cell stack, and has a range of 300 miles before refuelling.
GM has hydrogen cars that have a lithium-ion battery pack which can run on electricity and on energy produced by hydrogen fuel cells. They are called Cadillac Provoq and the Chevy Volt Hydrogen.
Honda’s FCX Clarity can run on fuel cells alone with a range of around 240 miles. It was released in 2008 as a lease vehicle for Southern California to take advantage of the region’s current hydrogen infrastructure.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ashly Sun is a seasoned writer, having travelled around the world, largely putting all her experiences and the sights and sounds she has come across to paper. She now writes extensively about topics related to green news, mostly on renewable energy, but also on a variety of related topics as well. When not travelling around the world, she is based in Central Hong Kong, taking in the myriad colours, flavours, and scents of the melting pot that Hong Kong is known for.