In the early days of the automobile, gasoline was considered a waste product. It was dumped into rivers and lakes and even used to clean floors. But with the advent of the internal combustion engine, gasoline quickly became one of the most important commodities in the world. Today, it’s hard to imagine life without it.
But as the world wakes up to the reality of climate change, there’s a growing push to find alternatives to gasoline, and hydrogen compression is one of the most promising alternatives.
What is Hydrogen?
Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe. It’s also light and volatile, making it an ideal fuel for automobiles.
How Do Hydrogen-Powered Automobiles Work?
Hydrogen automobiles work by combining hydrogen and oxygen to create electricity. The process is called electrolysis, and it happens in a fuel cell. A fuel cell is a big battery that produces electricity from chemical reactions.
In a hydrogen automobile, hydrogen gas is fed into the fuel cell. The hydrogen reacts with oxygen from the air to create electricity. The electricity powers the electric motor, which turns the wheels.
The beauty of a hydrogen automobile is that they produce no emissions. The only thing that comes out of the tailpipe is water vapor.
What Are the Benefits of Hydrogen Automobiles?
There are many benefits to hydrogen automobiles.
- They are much cleaner than gasoline automobiles
They produce no emissions, so they don’t contribute to air pollution.
- Hydrogen automobiles are more efficient than gasoline automobiles
Hydrogen fuel cells are about three times as efficient as gasoline engines. That means less fuel is needed to power the automobile, which saves you money.
- Hydrogen automobiles have a much longer range than electric automobiles
Electric automobiles can only travel a few hundred miles on a single charge, while hydrogen automobiles can travel hundreds of miles on a single tank of hydrogen.
- Hydrogen automobiles are much easier to refuel than electric automobiles
It only takes a few minutes to fill up a hydrogen automobile while it can take hours to charge an electric automobile.
What Are the Disadvantages of Hydrogen Automobiles?
There are also some disadvantages to hydrogen automobiles.
- Hydrogen is expensive to produce.
Right now, hydrogen is expensive to produce. It takes a lot of energy to extract hydrogen from water, and that costs money.
- Hydrogen automobiles are still rare
There are only a few hundred hydrogen automobiles on the road today. That means it’s hard to find a hydrogen station, and you might have to drive out of your way to fill up.
- Hydrogen automobiles are prone to leaks
Hydrogen is a volatile gas, so it can leak from the automobile. That’s why hydrogen automobiles have to be filled up with hydrogen at special stations.
Are Hydrogen Automobiles the Future?
It’s hard to say. Hydrogen automobiles have a lot of potential, but they also have some big challenges to overcome. Time will tell if hydrogen automobiles are the future of transportation.
One thing is for certain, we are all being asked as motorists to embrace cleaner fuels and hydrogen is up there with hybrid and electric vehicles right now. It may not be the choice of one or the other but both may come into more permanent play to meet global challenges in terms of the environment.
Studying the pros and cons of hydrogen as an automotive fuel, it is clear to see that there are enough advantages to take hydrogen development further into the future and make it a reality for vehicles on the road. This can include both personal and commercial vehicles. What today are experimental models can become tomorrow’s regular road vehicles.
It is encouraging to see that for the sake of the environment and the future sustainability of fuels.