>> Friday, April 8, 2011
Hydrogen Fuel Cars
Hydrogen cars are not only the future, they are here, now. When hydrogen cars become the status quo, the U. S. can lessen its dependence upon foreign oil, achieve lower prices at the fuel pumps and cut down on the greenhouse gases that produce global warming. The future of hydrogen cars is not a pipe dream, as there are already many hydrogen fuel cell cars and H2ICE vehicles on the roads. California, Japan and the European Union (especially Germany) have many hydrogen fuel cars being used as fleet vehicles now.
In 2005, Honda leased the first commercial hydrogen car to a family in Redondo Beach, California, (pictured above). In 2008, the Honda FCX Clarity became the first production line built hydrogen fuel cell lease vehicle rolled out to the same family plus dozens others.
For the past 28 years, the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) has been conducting research on hydrogen fuel cells for use in transportation, industry and residential use. According to the LANL, "Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Research at Los Alamos has made significant technological advances in Polymer Electrolyte Membrane (PEM) fuel cells, Direct Methanol Fuel Cells (DMFC), and related technologies such as the electrolyzer (a fuel cell in reverse, liberating hydrogen from electricity and pure water)."
Unlike many of the hybrid and "green" cars currently on the market, hydrogen fuel can offer the promise of zero emission technology, where the only byproduct from the cars is water vapor. Current fossil-fuel burning vehicles emit all sorts of pollutants such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrous oxide, ozone and microscopic particulate matter. Hybrids and other green cars address these issues to a large extent but only hydrogen cars hold the promise of zero emission of pollutants. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that fossil-fuel automobiles emit 1 ½ billion tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere each year and going to hydrogen fuel based transportation would all but eliminate this.
Not only that, hydrogen cars will lessen the United States' dependence upon foreign oil. The so-called "hydrogen highway" will mean less dependence upon OPEC, the big U. S. oil companies, oil refinery malfunctions and breakdowns and less resistance from oil-selling nations like Venezuela and Saudi Arabia or from hostile nations who would rather sell elsewhere.
Consumers will finally get a break from the never-ending rising prices at the gasoline pumps.
President Bush when he was in office allocated approximately $2 billion in hydrogen highway research funds. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was pushing to get 200 hydrogen filling stations built by 2010 stretching from Vancouver, British Columbia, all the way down to Baja, California (but has fallen short of this goal because of a poor economy and lack of political will).
Since Californians buy one-fifth of the nation's cars, the new hydrogen car technology could replace the current gasoline engine automobiles in what is called "disruptive technology" where something so innovative comes along it simply replaces the old technology very quickly.
Then again, a more likely scenario is that dual-fuel automotive systems will be developed that can run on either gasoline or hydrogen fuel as the hydrogen infrastructure is being developed. The conversion from gasoline-powered internal combustion engines to hydrogen powered combustion engines is agreed upon by most scientists and engineers to be a particularly easy transition and would buy time for hydrogen fuel cell cars to be fully adapted.
But, hydrogen cars are not isolated to those that burn the fuel in internal combustion engines (H2ICE). There are more hydrogen fuel cell cars being built currently than any other kind.
Let's also not forget about hydrogen-on-demand vehicles that are either using a hydrogen compound or electrolyzing water to create H2, avoiding the compressed or liquid hydrogen refueling scenario altogether. And, what about adapting hydrogen peroxide for fuel in car since it is currently being used in racecars and jet packs as a propellant?Hydrogen cars are the future, so why not take a test drive of this website right now and see what you'll be driving a few short years from now. With Germany, Japan, Norway and the U. S. in the hunt, the hydrogen economy is just around the bend. Will you be ready?