Hydrogen Cars

Hydrogen cars are the future, baby! Not only are hydrogen cars the future of automotive travel as we know it, they are here right now, among us. Did you know that? Hydrogen cars are not some George Jetson fantasy, but they are here now and are being shown off all over the world.


U.S. Representative Tom Petri Drives GM HydroGen3 At Press Conference

When some people think of hydrogen cars, they immediately think of the Hindenburg. The Hindenburg was a big, German zeppelin filled with hydrogen that caught fire, blew up in dramatic fashion and killed a bunch of people. People think this early hydrogen vehicle blew up because of the hydrogen which is totally false. The skin of the zeppelin was coated with the equivalent of jet fuel and it caught fire and went down in flames. It wouldn't have mattered if the aircraft were filled with helium, oxygen or feathers - the same thing would have happened.

So, hydrogen cars have gotten a bad rap because of this. Is hydrogen fuel totally safe? Of course not. H2 is combustible like other fuels such as gasoline, diesel, natural gas, methane or ethanol. All fuels, including hydrogen need to be handled with care.

So, what is the deal about hydrogen cars anyways? Well, these cars will change the way we breathe for one thing. The only emissions from a hydrogen car is a small amount of water vapor. This water vapor can even be trapped, electrolyzed and run back through a fuel cell to generate more power for the car. How about that for efficiency and economy?

Hydrogen cars are powered by three main sources. Most use fuel cells to generate electricity and power the car via electric motors. A few cars use internal combustion engines modified to accept hydrogen and burn it as fuel. A third type of hydrogen car uses a hydrogen compound to generate hydrogen-on-demand to power the vehicle. In this same category are the vehicles that do so by use of electrolysis. Much research, development and money is being poured into hydrogen fuel cell research as this is seen as the ultimate in green car technology.

Can you imagine pulling up to a fueling station a few years from now, filling up with hydrogen gas, then pulling away in a very quiet hydrogen car? The car is quiet because there is no internal combustion engine to make noise and has relatively few moving parts in comparison to a gasoline or diesel-powered engine. Or you could even refuel at a home hydrogen refueling station.

If we wish to eliminate our addiction to foreign oil and clean up the environment at the same time, hydrogen cars will help do just that. Check out Hydrogen Sweden which is part of the Scandinavian Hydrogen Highway when you get a chance. Also check out Hyrban a new open source hydrogen fuel cell automobile in the United Kingdom.




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