vishal panwar May 5, 2021

NEW DELHI: Hydrogen fuel cells are largely recognized for their ability to burn and only produce water as a residue. Add factors such as their ability to recharge quickly and the amount of power generated, and you have to yourself the perfect alternative to fossil fuels.
How exactly does a vehicle running on Hydrogen Fuel Cells work? It’s time for a science lesson.
Hydrogen reacts with oxygen. This reaction produces electricity that powers up the electric motor on the vehicle. The engine generates power using this reaction, also called the combustion of hydrogen. The process is done using a fuel supply and injection systems. Burning only a bit of engine oil, the same as seen in a gasoline engine, Hydrogen ensures zero emissions when in use.

Hydrogen is a fuel that is readily available and is renewable in nature. One doesn’t need to set up massive refineries to dig it out from the surface of the earth. It is a fuel which when burnt only produces water and doesn’t harm the environment.
The amount of power hydrogen fuel can produce is much greater than its equivalent in other fuels. Much faster charging times when compared to electric powered vehicles in under 5 minutes. Almost as fast as topping up a fossil fuel powered car while actually being much cleaner.
Much like EVs, Hydrogen cars are silent as they don’t have a combustion engine. They are just like electric cars that charge faster. Unlike combustion engine cars which release smoke, hydrogen fuel cell cars don’t pollute.
With a list of advantages as impressive as that, one may feel that Hydrogen powered cars are the future. So then why aren’t there many takers for this technology? Why have many reputed automakers refused to invest in this fuel type?
Hydrogen fuel cell technology is riddled with complications. Hydrogen is difficult to extract. It doesn’t exist on its own and needs to be extracted from water using electrolysis which in itself is a complicated process.
The energy needs tons of investments and political backing in order to become a viable source of energy. Without it the proper infrastructure to use hydrogen as a fuel cannot be created.
Raw materials used in the production of hydrogen fuel can be very expensive. Electrolysis itself employs certain special metals to extract hydrogen from water which is expensive.
Hydrogen faces limitations imposed by regulations of various countries. Unless these are sorted, Hydrogen will continue to suffer the fate of electrical vehicles in its early days.
Storage of hydrogen fuel cells is much more complicated and expensive than other fuel types. This adds to the overall costs of products and raises prices for automakers.
The fuel cell can be dangerous due to its highly flammable nature. This makes it a dangerous fuel to have in a vehicle if it crashes.
Last but not the least, the price point. Let alone IC engines, Hydrogen-powered cars are significantly costlier than electric vehicles, almost twice the asking price. For example, Kona EV in Europe starts at 34,600 euros, almost half of Nexo, which will cost you a minimum of 69000 Euros.

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