Scientists have designed a device that can use solar energy to inexpensively and efficiently create and store energy, which could be used to power electronic devices, and to create hydrogen fuel for eco-friendly cars. The device could make hydrogen cars affordable for many more consumers because it produces hydrogen using nickel, iron and cobalt – elements that are much more abundant and less expensive than the platinum and other precious metals that are currently used to produce hydrogen fuel. Here’s the Reality Check on Hydrogen Cars Features – Solar Energy Efficient Cars – Upcoming Innovations
What is a Hydrogen Car – Reality Check
Hydrogen cars are finally here but what are they, how do they work and should you buy one? The UK’s hydrogen car infrastructure has received a £23 million boost from the Government to increase fuel station coverage and vehicle uptake.
The Department for Transport announced that the grant will be distributed between hydrogen fuel providers who are able to bid for funding. The DfT said the funding will “boost the creation of hydrogen fuel infrastructure and uptake of hydrogen-powered vehicles.”
There are currently just 13 operational hydrogen refuelling stations in the UK, with many reserved for University or research purposes, though a further eight are planned for the near future
“Hydrogen is a great fuel for vehicles: It is the cleanest fuel known, it’s cheap and it puts no pollutants into the air – just water,” said Richard Kaner, professor at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in the US.
“And this could dramatically lower the cost of hydrogen cars,” said Kaner, senior author of the study published in the journal Energy Storage Materials.
The technology could be especially useful in rural areas, or to military units serving in remote locations.
“People need fuel to run their vehicles and electricity to run their devices. Now you can make both electricity and fuel with a single device,” Kaner said.
It could also be part of a solution for large cities that need ways to store surplus electricity from their electrical grids, researchers said.
“If you could convert electricity to hydrogen, you could store it indefinitely,” said Kaner.
How Hydrogen Cars Works ?
Fuel cell vehicles use hydrogen gas to power an electric motor. Unlike conventional vehicles which run on gasoline or diesel, fuel cell cars and trucks combine hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity, which runs a motor. Since they’re powered entirely by electricity, fuel cell vehicles are considered electric vehicles (“EVs”)—but unlike other EVs, their range and refueling processes are comparable to conventional cars and trucks.
Converting hydrogen gas into electricity produces only water and heat as a byproduct, meaning fuel cell vehicles don’t create tailpipe pollution when they’re driven. Producing the hydrogen itself can lead to pollution, including greenhouse gas emissions, but even when the fuel comes from one of the dirtiest sources of hydrogen, natural gas, today’s early fuel cell cars and trucks can cut emissions by over 30 percent when compared with their gasoline-powered counterparts. Future renewable fuel standards—such as the requirements currently in place in California—could make hydrogen even cleaner.
Because fuel cell vehicles are only beginning to enter the U.S. market, interested drivers should ensure they live near hydrogen refueling stations.
Traditional hydrogen fuel cells and supercapacitors have two electrodes: one positive and one negative. The device has a third electrode that acts as both a supercapacitor, which stores energy, and as a device for splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen, a process called water electrolysis.
All three electrodes connect to a single solar cell that serves as the device’s power source, and the electrical energy harvested by the solar cell can be stored in one of two ways: electrochemically in the supercapacitor or chemically as hydrogen.The device also is a step forward because it produces hydrogen fuel in an environmentally friendly way.
“Hydrogen energy is not ‘green’ unless it is produced from renewable sources,” El-Kady said.
He added that using solar cells and abundantly available elements to split water into hydrogen and oxygen has enormous potential for reducing the cost of hydrogen production and that the approach could eventually replace the current method, which relies on fossil fuels.
Hydrogen Cars Features & Equipment
Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles combine the range and refueling of conventional cars with the recreational and environmental benefits of driving on electricity.
Refueling a fuel cell vehicle is comparable to refueling a conventional car or truck; pressurized hydrogen is sold at hydrogen refueling stations, taking less than 10 minutes to fill current models. Some leases may cover the cost of refueling entirely. Once filled, the driving ranges of a fuel cell vehicle vary, but are similar to the ranges of gasoline or diesel-only vehicles (200-300 miles). Compared with battery-electric vehicles—which recharge their batteries by plugging in—the combination of fast, centralized refueling and longer driving ranges make fuel cells particularly appropriate for larger vehicles with long-distance requirements, or for drivers who lack plug-in access at home.
Like other EVs, fuel cell cars and trucks can employ idle-off, which shuts down the fuel cell at stop signs or in traffic. In certain driving modes, regenerative braking is used to capture lost energy and charge the battery.
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