Hydrogen fuel cells seem to be the latest trend in alternative fuel sources for vehicles. Basically, these cells contain hydrogen gases which provide energy to the electric motor. In other words, the hydrogen gas is converted into electrical energy for the vehicle. This is clean energy because there is no combustion process taking place that generates carbon emissions.
Hydrogen fuel cells can be used to power commercial vehicles or regular passenger vehicles. They are the perfect replacement for the traditional diesel or gasoline fuel that is used in most vehicles today. For the hydrogen gases to successfully be converted into electricity, they are combined with oxygen. If there is a steady flow of oxygen around, the motor can stay powered.
Hydrogen fuel cell cars may sound like a marvelous automotive innovation. However, some people have mixed opinions about their benefits. Let’s explore the pros and cons of hydrogen fuel cell cars below.
Below are the top 5 benefits of hydrogen fuel cell cars.
1) No Carbon Emissions – There are no carbon emissions produced by the utilization of the hydrogen fuel cells. As the vehicle runs, only water vapor is emitted from the engine. This promotes a clean and healthy environment.
2) Better Fuel Economy – It is estimated that hydrogen fuel cells can give you double the fuel economy of regular gasoline. This means that you could probably drive around 300 miles or so before you need to recharge the fuel cells. Meanwhile, you won’t be polluting the environment either.
3) Great Performance – No matter how big your fuel cells are, they will produce the same amount of power. Fuel cells can perform wonderfully in big trucks and smaller economy class vehicles. You’ll experience a continuous amount of power which will come in quite handy.
4) Less Threatening – People who inhale gasoline vapors may suffer certain symptoms like dizziness, headaches, vomiting, and possibly even death. The only risk from hydrogen fuel cells is if they break and leak liquid hydrogen or catch on fire. These situations are rare and could only happen in a serious car accident.
5) Sometimes Produced from Renewables – The latest hydrogen fuel cell technology is made from renewable resources like water or solar energy. The only reason they haven’t gone mainstream is that it’s a more expensive way of extracting hydrogen.
Below are the top 5 disadvantages of hydrogen fuel cell cars.
1) Usually Produced from Non-Renewables – Most hydrogen fuel cells are produced from non-renewable resources, such as fossil fuels. Since it is cheaper for manufacturers to use this method, they don’t seem to care so much about the carbon dioxide emissions which occur from this method of production.
2) High Price Tag – A hydrogen fuel cell car is more expensive than gasoline cars and hybrid cars. Right now, the cheapest hydrogen fuel cell car is around $50,000+, while the cheapest hybrid is around $23,000.
3) Few Recharging Stations – The hydrogen fuel cells will eventually need to be recharged. You’ll find these stations in a few locations throughout Los Angeles and other big cities in California. As for the rest of the country, don’t expect to find any of these stations. So, you can stop your plans for taking a cross country joy ride in your hydrogen fuel cell car.
4) Expensive to Transport the Fuel Cells – Liquid hydrogen loses its effectiveness the longer it takes for it to be transported to its destination. This means that expensive pipelines will need to be built which carry this liquid hydrogen to more localized locations. Right now, the infrastructure available doesn’t support this.
5) Possible Risk to Environment – If the liquid hydrogen were to leak out of the fuel cells, it could cause much worse damage to the ozone layer than carbon emissions.