These days, we are far more aware of how our behaviour effects the environment and the fuels we choose are an important part of this. Driving on hydrogen is much more environment-friendly than gasoline, LPG or diesel and that is why it is increasing in popularity. In contrast to natural gas and petrol, for example, there is an unlimited supply of hydrogen available. This could very well be the fuel of the future!
How does driving on hydrogen work?
Hydrogen is the lightest gas known to man and it is found everywhere. The entire universe, in fact, is rich in hydrogen. The gas is combustible but not explosive. So, if it escapes, it will not explode but simply evaporate. Because hydrogen can release a lot of energy, the gas is pumped into a fuel cell. This is a metal box that looks like a big battery. This battery will never expire as long as hydrogen and air continues to be pumped in. Because hydrogen and air are converted to water, an electro-engine can be powered by it. In doing so, no CO2 is emitted.
Unlike today’s electrical cars like the Tesla, a hydrogen car does not have a large battery but only this fuel cell. New power can constantly be generated from hydrogen. Hydrogen is reduced by the kilo. The price per kilometre driven is roughly the same as gasoline. When you fill up on hydrogen at the pump, your tank will be full in just a couple of minutes. The larger the tank, the further you will be able to drive. The Toyota Mirai, for example, can cover 500 kilometres on just one tank!
In Germany, the hydrogen cars are much more popular than in the Netherlands: hydrogen stations are cropping up all over the place. Here in Holland, the process is going a bit slower. At this moment, there are only 3 locations where you can fill up on hydrogen. The authorities are promising to expand the number of hydrogen stations but as long as this fails to materialise, the hydrogen car has little chance of succeeding in the Netherlands.
The future of hydrogen cars
Hydrogen has the potential to be a popular sustainable fuel for cars. But, much has to happen before there can be a mass transition to hydrogen. Currently, there are only a handful of car manufacturers that make hydrogen cars and these tend to be relatively expensive. The number of stations that offer hydrogen will obviously also have expanded and the price at the pump will have to be adjusted to make it more attractive to consumers to convert to using hydrogen. If all of these elements materialise, hydrogen cars just might be the cars of the future!