The Benefits of Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles

Although hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (heretofore referred to as HFCV) have just a few drawbacks, in this article we are going to focus on the many benefits associated with this modern technology – in the context of comparing their usage with that of fossil fuel-reliant vehicles that utilize batteries and internal combustion engines.

Fuel efficiency

First of all, “traditional” internal combustion vehicles are complicated. A small percentage of the population knows the ins and outs of such vehicles, and a larger portion can lift the hood and complete a few basic maintenance-related tasks. However, I would venture to guess that the majority of us (myself included) look beneath the hood and have absolutely no comprehension of the function of the multitude of tubes, sockets, wires, chunks of metal, and various other doo-hickies. Fuel cell vehicles, by contrast, are simple; they are comprised of very few moving parts and, therefore, require very little maintenance.

Fuel cell vehicles are powered by hydrogen, which is readily and widely available so long as there exists the combination of water and a power source. This relieves the hydrogen fuel cell vehicle user of being tied to the grid – thus providing energy security. This fact necessarily dictates that the user is free from the ever-increasing cost of traditional fuel sources, such as oil and gas – the reserves of which are dwindling and becoming ever more costly to extract. In addition to the financial cost of extraction, the cost to the health of the planet is incalculable, without any mishaps. Add in the catastrophic oil spills, fracking-induced water contamination, etc., and one would think no rational person would continue to pursue the use of fossil fuels. These vehicles are also socioeconomically and politically sustainable, as everyone can feel good about not requiring the invasion of another country to ensure the continued use of their vehicle.

Since they do not require the use of oil and gas, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles don’t burn fossil fuels, and therefore don’t cause pollution. Not only do they not emit greenhouse gases, but they do not carry the weight of the pollution generated from extracting fossil fuels – which is tremendous. Instead, the byproduct of fuel cells fueled by hydrogen is, for all intents and purposes, water. (Note: See our article on The Science Behind HFCV for clarification on this fact.)

To boot, fuel cells are quiet. In fact, most fuel cells are totally silent. This is not only much more pleasant than the noise generated by internal combustion engines (especially classic and sports models), but their silence also reduces noise pollution, which is a major issue in large and mega cities.

Hydrogen fueled vehicles are much more efficient than gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles. Efficiency means not only financial savings, but the dramatic reduction of pollution. Fuel cell vehicles are also eligible for certain tax rebates and other incentives given as rewards for reducing energy costs and pollution output.

In summation, think of HFCV as the solar panels of the transportation realm; they are cost-effective, easily maintained, beneficial to the planet, and provide energy security.

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The Science Behind HFCV

Still not entirely certain how fuel cell cars work? Here’s a concise explanation of the science involved:

The electric motor contained within the hydrogen fuel cell vehicle is powered by hydrogen gas. The hydrogen is fused, through a chemical reaction, with oxygen to produce water, which in turn produces electricity. This electricity powers the motor, which drives the vehicle. This process of producing electricity from hydrogen gas creates only heat and water as byproducts – unlike the burning of fossil fuels, which produces toxic byproducts. The fuel cell utilizes a chemical process that doesn’t involve burning anything whatsoever.

The only pollution generated by fuel cell vehicles is if the the source of hydrogen is innately polluting. Worst case scenario, even utilizing natural gas as a hydrogen source creates far less pollution than that of internal combustion engines.

Technically, due to the fact that they are powered by electricity, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are also considered electric vehicles. Electric vehicles, however, lack the power-to-driving range ratio that HFCV have. That, in addition to the fact that hydrogen fuel is a liquid, make HFCV comparable less so to electric vehicles and more so to internal combustion engine vehicles.



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