Category Archives: Hydrogen

Hydrogen Powered Vehicles Are Getting Closer

With the demise of the American car industry such as it is now, manufacturers are looking for the next thing on the horizon to keep their companies out of bankruptcy. It would appear hydrogen powered vehicles are fitting the bill and already there is a call to have hydrogen powered vehicles replace those running on fossil fuels which are currently polluting the environment. Since hydrogen is not implicated in any harmful activities when burned – unlike carbon monoxide in gasoline powered cars – it is widely believed to be the substance of the future.

Before you go out looking for hydrogen powered vehicles, however, consider that the process required to make these cars a reality is still rather costly. As such, manufacturers cannot hope to make any profit with their hydrogen powered vehicles until and unless they manage to greatly reduce their overall cost to the consumer. This accounts for the vast amount of experimentation currently going on in the car industry and also related industries.

While there have been rumors at least one major American car manufacturer will produce hydrogen powered vehicles by 2010, the odds are good recent industry upheaval will put these plans by the wayside. This opens up the race to the national scene and it is only a matter of time until one of the big competitors will take the bull by the horns and devise a viable product. Since the market is ready and consumer behavior is decidedly shifting toward greener shores, the motivation is undoubtedly there.

The Latest Non-Fossil Fuel Transportation Option

Scientists are constantly working on a non-fossil fuel transportation option. With America’s high dependence on traveling by car, there is a reason to believe they will find successful options within the next few years. The demand is certainly there so science is such to catch up eventually.

One of the newest methods involves recycling all the carbon dioxide wasted in the production of biofuels. This would make the process more efficient and scientists believe it would offer enough fuel to power cars all over America.

The hybrid hydrogen-carbon process could essentially make diesel fuel from coal or biomass, without putting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Because biofuels can lose CO2 into the atmosphere during the conversion process of making them, it can be an inefficient process. The new process allows for the wasted carbon dioxide to create more fuel. The hydrogen used is gleaned from water using non-fossil fuel energy (like solar energy).

It’s hopeful that while cars would still be generating CO2 emissions, the CO2 would be reabsorbed and used in the process once again, balancing the cycle of CO2. The process is a much cleaner version than the other coal options. In addition, it offers things electricity and hydrogen alone cannot provide.

The only drawback to this plan is storage. For large trains, planes and cars it would be difficult to store. The driving distances would be limited as well and the energy costs associated with this process could be very expensive.

Overall, there is hope in science finding a viable solution for the environment and for the needs and demands of driving Americans.

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Automobiles are the Future

Fuel Cell Auto - Future?

The Hydrogen Fuel Cell will likely be the energy source of the future for individual transportation. Meaning that we will someday be primarily driving vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cells.

It is only a matter of time, (and prices at the gas pump), before this technology receives the attention it deserves.

Here's an example from Honda of where the current technology is. This is an image of the Honda FCX Clarity, a stylish looking hydrogen fuel cell car (only leased in small numbers to select California ResidentsThe Honda FCX Clarity Fuel Cell Automobile)

The most distinctive feature of the Honda FCX Clarity - Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle—other than the fuel cell itself—is the streamlined layout made possible by its compact and efficient powertrain components.

The fuel cell combines hydrogen with oxygen to make electricity. The electricity then powers the electric motor, which in turn propels the vehicle. Water is the only byproduct the Hydrogen Fuel as a Future Secondary Energy Source leaves behind.

How to make hydrogen?
Hydrogen can be created from the following primary energy resources and more. An electrolizer is for (at filling stations) - producing hydrogen from electricity and water.

  • fossil fuels to hydrogen
  • biofuels to hydrogen
  • hydro power to electricity and water (split apart into elements) to hydrogen
  • solar power to electricity and water (split apart into elements) to hydrogen
  • geothermal to electricity and water (split apart into elements) to hydrogen

Hydrogen can even be made from hydrocarbons, effectively being made from the very pollution that threatens the future of the current energy system, making double use for the same primary energy sources, whether algae or hydro power.

Storing the hydrogen
Converting the hydrogen from a liquid or gas which can't currently be stored as efficiently as gasoline into fuel cells consisting of metal allows or other high hydrogen content substances is one possible way to overcome the storage problem. Storage will continue to be a challenge until the capacity approaches that of a conventional tank of gasoline.

Hydrogen refueling should however be fairly easy and it may even be possible in the future to charge your hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicle at home using household electricity and water, the natural gas supply, or one of another possible methods of easily creating the hydrogen.

For more detailed information about hydrogen, check out this video of Hydrogen Hopes, hosted by Alan Alda.

Learn about where we are with hydrogen fuel cell technology and where we are likely to go from here in this informative, fascinating episode of the PBS Television Series Scientific American Frontiers

Season 15 : Episode 6 |26:08|

We've all heard of hydrogen as the fuel of the future, but what will it take to get there from here?

Video Episode Courtesy of Hulu.Com