Home Green Technology Guide The Big Question: Are hydrogen fuel cells a viable alternative to fossil fuels

The Big Question: Are hydrogen fuel cells a viable alternative to fossil fuels

Hydrogen Fuel Cells

Why we are asking this now?

Hydrogen, as we all know is one of the alternative fuels for defense and are used in different modes of weaponry. Nevertheless, the question that needs to be answered at this point of time is that, are they ideal sources of fuel for optimizing the various power outputs that are in vogue? Petroleum, the fuel of the century, is expected to face a drastic reduction by the end of the year 2025, and there is an apparent need for developing other alternatives that go in hand with the barrels of petroleum that are being sucked up from the earth year after year. There are numerous reports published, which state that alternative fuels to petroleum exist, however, the authenticity of such fuels are to be known and studied. Hydrogen, being one such option of an alternative fuel, is essentially ranked amongst the most coveted of all the fuel types.

Is it really that serious?

We are yet to decide if hydrogen will still be able to make it and thus, be one of the environmental saviors of the day. The fossil fuels make up the great deal of the nagging pollution around and thus, there is a hard pressing need for the switch to hydrogen as the source of fuel. Fuels that burn up to release energy are on a hard toll on the environment and have greatly impacted them as well. There have been many such odd problems and despite the local problems that have been observed within a specific region, there is a severe impact on global warming. Moreover, it is predicted that the outcome of hydrogen powered cells is mere water, which no way impacts the environment or life. However, despite the various modes of fossil fuels are used to extract hydrogen, nevertheless, until a proper cheap source is identified, the solution does not make the big hit.

What others are saying

In the year 2005, Stanford University researchers have assessed the impact of three different sources of renewable energy, namely coal, water and gas. Apparently, it has been proved that vehicles driven by means of gasoline or the hybrid cars actually let out fewer emissions than that of hydrogen derived from coal. Although there are various studies that are in vogue for the betterment of this energy, scientists all over the world are devising methods for their enhanced storage as well. On the one hand, researchers are working towards extracting hydrogen energy from various non-living sources. On the other hand, there are scientists who are working on live bacteria, modifying them to produce twice as much as hydrogen gas. Despite the various strategies employed, globally, the opinion persists that hydrogen is certainly an effective means of fuel, only when alternative strategies of production are developed.

The developments

1. BMW’s hydrogen fuel cell hybrid vehicle

BMW’s hydrogen fuel cell hybrid vehicle

The more awaited hydrogen powered vehicle by BMW is believed to be under the testing phase at the moment. This system features a strong powertrain that is coupled with a hydrogen fuel cell, electrical rear axle and thus supercapacitors for the emission-free driving. Despite the hard efforts being invested, the company has not yet decided on the incorporation of a fuel–cell hybrid for the model. The power that is generated by means of the APUs will be directed toward the supercapcitors that are mounted in the central tunnel. The car is driven by electric means and powered by the hydrogen fuel cell as well.

2. Hydrogen fuel cell powered AAVA

AAVA power by Hydrogen fuel cell

AAVA is one such car that is designed to bring glamor to the Winter Olympics at Helsinki. These cars, exclusively powered by fuel cells are designed to bring the guests of honor to the venue and thus bring out the trigger for setting up car industries in Finland. It is believed that these Eco-friendly cars will be exclusively manufactured in Finland, and thus aid to the low-emission factor in the country.

The main hurdles

The main hurdle that has been described so far would be the problems that are associated with the storage of these compounds. Being highly volatile in nature, special tanks need to be built that aid in the proper storage. However, the manufacture of hydrogen requires utmost care, as it is a very strong explosive.

What can be done?

Thus, it is evinced that hydrogen is one of the most effective tools for curbing global warming and the massive rise of fuel prices globally. The Energy Department of the US government has stated that hydrogen can prove as a valuable source, being more than three times efficient than the normal sources of fuel. With all these apprehensions about the manufacture, storage and application, it would be ideal to draft effective measures that would strike a balance among all the three.