Hydrogen cars with fuel cells
Hydrogen cars with fuel cells
The best-known alternative to the combustion engine to date is the e-car. In fact, however, there is another variant that bypasses the conventional combustion engine. Hydrogen cars with a fuel cell are a good opportunity to use neither the combustion engine nor the electric car. Hydrogen cars come in two different forms: one converts hydrogen into electricity using a fuel cell and the other burns the hydrogen. In most cases, the fuel cell is a polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell unit. This is where the hydrogen is fed. It sounds contradictory at first that hydrogen is to be burned, but here's how it works: Gaseous hydrogen and atmospheric oxygen are brought together in a fuel cell by means of reverse electrolysis, so that electricity and water vapour are released. The hydrogen is stored in tanks in the car. The advantage of this fuel is that it can be absorbed by the car very quickly - this gives the fuel cell car a direct advantage over the e-car, because there is no need for time-consuming charging - and has a fairly long range. With 5.5 kilograms of hydrogen, the car can travel about 500 kilometres, which is much more than with an electric car. In addition, a small buffer storage battery is needed to help during overtaking manoeuvres, for example. However, the hydrogen car saves enormously in weight at this point. The considerable reduction in battery weight gives the car a much longer range, and the charging time already mentioned is also reduced enormously. Another big advantage of the hydrogen car is that it does not cool down so much in winter. This is due to the aforementioned conversion process. The electric car does have its problems in winter because of the cold, which is why the battery suffers. This problem does not exist with the hydrogen car. What both cars have in common, of course, is that they are emission-free. What advantages a pure hydrogen engine has over a fuel cell is not entirely clear, because the only thing in common is really the energy carrier. Nevertheless, the pure hydrogen engine does not seem to be purposeful, as it can only have half the efficiency of an electric motor and is thus not 100% convincing. However, the research continues. In terms of price, hydrogen cars are within reasonable limits. And refuelling is also manageable. What sounds expensive at first is put into perspective in retrospect. For certain models, it can be calculated that about 10 euros per 100 kilometres should be taken into account, so that there is a synchronisation with current electric cars.
Given that fossil fuel prices are still changing, it is not yet possible to draw a definitive conclusion in terms of price. The decisive factor, however, will be the production costs for green hydrogen - the targeted limit of 2 euros will probably only be reached in an average of 25 years. Since there are still very few filling stations in Germany that offer hydrogen, it is questionable whether it is worthwhile to buy a hydrogen car.
Overall, however, it can be said that the hydrogen car has the following advantages: a long range, fast charging and zero emissions. The problem is that hydrogen can only be produced using energy and is therefore expensive and problematic in terms of transport and production. However, it is already clear that countries such as Canada, Australia, Chile, North Africa and also Scandinavia will have to be resorted to and only a small part of the green hydrogen can be produced in Germany. Moreover, it is only really environmentally friendly when produced with renewable energy. So far, the hydrogen car has not been designed for the masses in any respect. People are opting for hydrogen-powered cars - but experts still believe that electric cars will continue to have the upper hand.