The number of vehicles on the road is skyrocketing with time. As per the society of India Automobile Manufacturers, about 26 million vehicles were sold in India in the year 2018-19. As per some other reports, about 6 cars are sold every minute in India. These volumes are massive and the results are visible in the form of overcrowded roads. The huge pollution created by these vehicles has become a great concern for the people. Automotive researchers all over the world are working hard to produce vehicles which can run on sustainable energy sources. Even governments are supporting them in this endeavour. They have realized the great potential of hydrogen to be used as clean source energy. This sector is also attracting huge investments, which is promoting the innovation and advancement of the existing technologies. The Hydrogen cars are less polluting and can cover the long-distance without refuelling. The refuelling of these cars can be done within 5 minutes. This provides them an edge over the electric cars, which need to be charged for long hours before the rides. Today we will discuss the technical details of hydrogen cars.
1) Hydrogen Combustion Engine Cars
Hydrogen is a highly reactive gas and burns easily in air. It also has a very high calorific value, which makes it suitable for being used as a fuel. The Hydrogen combustion engines are very similar to the petrol engines. They have all the same parts as of 4 stroke engines, and they work on the same cycles. In these engines Hydrogen can be injected directly or through port injection method. These engines need special gas injectors to cater to Hydrogen fuel.
1. Catalytic Converters
2. Hydrogen Fuel Cell Cars
3. Crash Tests And Global NCAP Ratings
2) The Hydrogen Fuel Cell Cars
Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs) Vs Electric Vehicles (EVs)
The FCEVs are being looked upon as a competitor of Electric vehicle. Many experts are saying that it’s not EVs but FCEVs which are going to be the future of mobility. There are many arguments in support and against this idea. Let’s compare both these based on certain factors:
The FCEVs are very similar to electric vehicles in terms of performance and drivability. They are also free from reciprocating engine parts making them smooth and vibration-free.
The Hydrogen Fuel cell vehicles have a higher range as compared to electric vehicles. The FCEVs generally offer a range of about 300 miles while an electric car would need a huge battery to match this.
The greatest advantage of an FCEVs is its quick refuelling time. Normally it takes around 5 minutes to fill its gas tank completely. For Electric Vehicles the charging may take around 6-8 hours with domestic charger while it may take 1 hour with superchargers.
The FCEVs are currently not manufactured on a large scale. This makes them costlier as compared to electric cars. However, we may expect their prices to fall down with the commencement of their mass production.
Currently, the world lacks infrastructure for FCEVs. We need to build a network Hydrogen filling stations all across the globe. We also need to set-up production and distribution channels to deliver Hydrogen to these filling stations. At other hands, the Electric Vehicle infrastructure is quite developed. We can charge our electric vehicles easily with our domestic electricity. EV charging stations are also being developed at a fast pace.
Both these vehicles are considered emission-free and generate zero harmful emission during their operation. The end product of a Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle is water vapour which is perfectly clean and does not cause any pollution. Electric vehicles at other hands do not have any end product during their operation. However, the generation of electricity with coal and petroleum do generate a lot of pollution. Similarly, the production of Hydrogen also generates a lot of Carbon dioxide causing air pollution.
Cost Of Operation
The operational cost of FCEVs is also very high as compared to the EVs. This is due to the high prices of Hydrogen. The lack of facilities to generate, store and transport Hydrogen increases its cost. The Electricity at other hands is cheaper and easily available all across the globe. The current operational cost of an FCEV is approximately four folds higher than that of an Electric Vehicle. The current Hydrogen production processes are inefficient and require a lot of energy. The most efficient Hydrogen production process is hydrolysis but it is just 80% efficient and needs a large amount of electricity for it. Apart from this, the produced Hydrogen needs to be stored at a pressure 700 times that of the atmospheric pressure for its transportation. The transportation is done through road transports adding further to the cost. The electricity at other hands can be generated very easily and transported through the power grids available across the globe. This makes it way more cheaper source than Hydrogen.
|Front Ducts For Air Intake|
At the time when all the companies of the world are thinking about electrical vehicles, Toyota is busy working on Hydrogen fuel cell technology. It has made a significant improvement in this field. Toyota’s Mirai is a futuristic car based on fuel cell technology. It utilizes fuel cell stacks developed by Toyota to produce electricity.
The Hydrogen car is a futuristic concept. In spite of being so useful, they are out of the reach of the common man. The availability of Hydrogen gas is the greatest issue. A lot of research is going on in this field to make this technology viable. Hope we would soon see some remarkable developments in this area.