It can be the alternative to electric and fossil?
Developed over the years by various automotive and non-automotive entities, hydrogen-powered vehicles have gained significant relevance in recent times as they can replace petroleum-derived fuels and complement electric vehicles in achieving a greener mobility future. Let’s explore how hydrogen is produced and the structure of a hydrogen-powered vehicle.
Structure – A hydrogen-powered vehicle is equipped with one or more high-pressure tanks, pressurized at 700 bar, capable of storing hydrogen in liquid form. The vehicle also contains a fuel cell, which is the heart of the vehicle. It converts hydrogen into electricity and transfers it to the electric motor, enabling the vehicle’s movement.
Functioning – Once the hydrogen refueling is complete, the gas is transferred from the tank to the fuel cell. The fuel cell has two poles: a negative one for hydrogen and a positive one for oxygen from the external environment. An electrochemical reaction occurs, producing electricity and water as a byproduct. This electricity is then transferred to the electric motor, propelling the vehicle forward.
Hydrogen Production – The true challenge of this technology lies in hydrogen production. There are five methods of hydrogen production, each involving different techniques and resources:
- Brown: Produced from coal gasification;
- Gray: steam reforming, where hydrogen is separated from the carbon of the methane molecules;
- Blue: Obtained through capturing a portion of the CO2 generated in steam reforming;
- Pink: Water electrolysis using energy obtained from nuclear reactions;
- Green: Utilizing only energy from renewable sources.
Of these methods, only the last one (green) is truly environmentally friendly.
Advantages and Disadvantages – Hydrogen-powered vehicles offer several advantages, including refueling times similar to gasoline, lower costs compared to a full electric charge, and ease of refueling.
However, there are also disadvantages to consider, such as the notably high initial cost of hydrogen-powered vehicles and the lack of hydrogen refueling stations, which hinders their widespread adoption.
Despite these challenges, the progress in hydrogen technology shows promise as a green mobility solution, and continued efforts in research and infrastructure development are essential for its successful integration into the transportation sector.