Hydrogen is the lightest, simplest, and one of the most abundant energy resource. Compared with other fuels such as carbon in the form of coal, natural gas which is mostly methane, and petrol and diesel, hydrogen has many advantages. For instance, hydrogen has the highest energy density. It can easily be produced by electrolysis of water. The third most beneficial advantage is that hydrogen is a non-polluting fuel whether it is used in internal combustion engines or in fuel cells. Along with energy, hydrogen produces water as a byproduct which is a very useful resource for us.
In this post, we will see how hydrogen as a fuel is more advantageous compared to other fuels in detail.
Hydrogen as a potential energy storage system.
During the day time, a large part of the energy received from Sun remains untapped. This energy can be converted into electricity with the help of photoelectric cells, and then it can be used to produce hydrogen by electrolysis of water. The surplus hydrogen produced using this process can be stored as high density potential energy and can be transported to places where adequate sunlight is not available.
The hydrogen produced in this process can be used in highly efficient fuel cell vehicles or in moderately efficient internal combustion engines. In both these processes, we get water along with useful energy.
Note: In hydrogen internal combustion engines which take air to burn hydrogen, small amounts of nitrogen oxides are also produced owing to the oxidation of nitrogen present in air.
To know more about what is a hydrogen fuel cell and how it works, you can visit the link below.
Battery powered vehicles vs fuel cell vehicles.
The main advantage of a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle is that it can be refueled quickly, usually in less than five minutes, and once fueled, a hydrogen fuel car can travel for about five hundred kilometers depending on the fuel tank capacity. Whereas for a comparable distance range, a battery operated electric car must be recharged for a few hours during which it cannot be used for traveling purpose.
The recharging time of battery operated electric cars can create huge bottlenecks in the economy because during the battery car's long recharging time, it is rendered useless. Also if there is a blackout or when failure of electricity grid occurs, the electric cars can't be recharged. This problem does not arise in hydrogen fuel cell cars as their refueling or recharging time is very less and adequate amounts of hydrogen can be stored for emergency purposes.
Hydrogen fuel cell can be used in powering trains for very long distances even in remote areas where sending electricity through wires is not feasible. Hydrogen fuel cell powered trains will be more efficient alternative to diesel and electric trains. Hydrogen fuel is already used in rockets and space shuttles, and in future, hydrogen fuel cells might also be used in aviation.
As we can see both the battery operated electric vehicles and the fuel cell operated electric cars are useful for controlling air pollution in cities. However, the hydrogen fuel cell cars have huge advantages in terms of recharging time and in power outage situations. These things make hydrogen fuel cell cars much better compared to battery operated electric cars for a sustainable economy.