Hydrogen-powered Cars. The future of the Automotive Industry?

With the current trends of the automotive industry moving further and further towards renewable technology and electric vehicles, one renewable source is yet to take off. But could hydrogen-powered vehicles be the long-term future of vehicles?

Hydrogen is the most plentiful element on earth. However, it is not readily available as it does not occur naturally, so it must be extracted. This is done through various sources such as natural gas, biomass, or can be generated through renewable electricity via electrolysis.

Hydrogen based technology is powered by a chemical reaction occurring between water and hydrogen. The hydrogen mixes with oxygen in the fuel cell stack where a platinum catalyst drives the chemical reaction to generate electrical energy, which creates the power to the car’s motor.

Similar to electric vehicles, hydrogen-power is viewed favourably as an environmentally friendly alternative to the current fuel-powered vehicle. However, electric vehicles appear to be preferred to the hydrogen-powered alternative while the hydrogen technology is still developing.

While hydrogen-power provides an environmentally efficient vehicle option, there are a few roadblocks in the way before the technology becomes a staple on the roads.

The first issue is that there is a lack of readily available infrastructure for hydrogen-powered vehicles. Currently there are only 13 filling stations in the whole of the UK, with most being found inside the M25 orbital. The aim is to raise that number to 65 by the end of next year, however these numbers are not high enough to give consumers confidence that refilling will be readily available for them.

One possible solution that has been raised to combat this issue is to produce hydrogen onsite to negate the need to transport the hydrogen.

The second issue is the lack of options when it comes to purchasing a hydrogen-powered vehicle. As the technology is still in its developmental stage, manufacturers are not producing large amounts of these vehicles.  At the current time there are only three models available on the market, one from Toyota, one from Honda and one from Hyundai. The price is also being affected by a lack of options, with these models being priced at approximately $85,000AUD.

While these issues are currently having an affect on the popularity of hydrogen-powered vehicles, the research and development being put into the technology is continually improving the product. With hydrogen cars being completely non-polluting, it could only a matter of time before the technology is capable of providing a green, economically viable vehicle for the future of the automotive industry.

Original source: azocleantech | Hydrogen Cars – The Next Big Thing for Renewable Energy?

24 July 2019

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