Are Hydrogen Fuel Cells The Future of Transport?
Fuel cell technology has been in works since the start of the 1900s. However, we have only now reached a stage where we can employ this tech on a large scale. What will hydrogen fuel cells give to us?
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Well to put it in simple words, we’ll have consumer vehicles with refillable fuel cells powering electric motors that give zero emissions and work without the need to be refilled every 100-200 miles. The golden key here is their ability to provide environmentally friendly transport from green energy. However, there is still much to work on before we see this truly being implemented.
But first, let’s take a closer look at things. What exactly is hydrogen fuel cell technology?
A fuel cell, like a battery, essentially provides us with an electric current. However, unlike a battery that stores energy, a fuel cell creates its own. Hydrogen acts as a source and reacts with oxygen via an electrochemical process to form an electric charge. This electricity is then used to power the vehicle. A fuel cell will also only give us water and heat as waste products as opposed to combustion alternatives using petroleum as a source fuel.
While battery power may seem to have won, for now, experts predict that fuel cells will ultimately outperform them. Partly because they do not cause as much harm to the environment as battery power does.
Mining of metals such as Co, Li, Cu, and Ni can always be a cause of concern for the safety of workers and the environment. Recycling also produced CO2 which is harmful to the environment. On the other hand, electric cars also harm the environment. While they don’t emit exhaust fumes they do use batteries that emit toxic fumes.
Tesla’s co-founder and CEO, Elon Musk has however regarded hydrogen fuel cells as “mind-bogglingly stupid” and a “load of rubbish”. But the auto industry begs to differ. A 2017 survey of 1,000 senior auto executives conducted by KPMG found that hydrogen fuel cells have a better long-term future than electric cars. According to the report published, “Battery electric vehicles will fail due to infrastructure challenges while fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) are seen as the real breakthrough for electric mobility.”
What are the benefits of Hydrogen Fuel Cells?
Hydrogen fuel cells give us no harmful emissions and are sustainable fuel as compared to fossil fuel alternatives.
Vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cells refuel faster as compared to charging electric cars –around 3-5 minutes.
Cars using hydrogen as a fuel source can travel at much greater distances as compared to electric cars. The range falls around 300 miles.
Hydrogen fuel cells have higher efficiency and can produce a lot more power for devices.
However, there are some significant barriers in the way of...