Clean Energy: Advantages and Disadvantages of Hydrogen Cars

3 min. reading
Hidrogen mobility / 20 May, 2021
Clean Energy: Advantages and Disadvantages of Hydrogen Cars

Sofía R. Ustáriz Journalist

In the race for sustainable and environmentally friendly means of transportation, we have heard many proposals, with the main contenders being those based on electric power alone and those that use hydrogen as a replacement for fossil fuels.[i]

While the electric proposal is the most popular – largely due to the ease with which many countries can adapt their automotive infrastructure to electric refueling stations instead of hydrogen tanks – this structural problem could be solved with an investment that, in the long run, could be more economical than the electric proposal.

This is the strategy that is being implemented in Japan and is emerging as an investment option in several other countries, even exceeding 139% profit in 2020.[ii] [iii]

Hydrogen mobility, an emerging sector

Hydrogen mobility, an emerging sector

Projects aimed at developing hydrogen as a clean energy source will total an investment of up to $300 billion by 2030 worldwide.

Hydrogen cars: perseverance in favor of sustainable energy

Let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of hydrogen cars below.

Advantages of hydrogen cars

Hydrogen is the element with the largest presence not only on our planet, but in the universe (due to its simple 1-electron composition, which makes it easy to find or extract from different natural sources). If the entire automotive fuel structure were to provide hydrogen refueling services, this fuel would be a more economical solution than gasoline or electricity.

Given its simple composition, once used as a fuel, there are many ways to reuse hydrogen in automotive design: in contact with oxygen it can be converted into water to cool the engine, or it can be stored and reused as a fuel (after going through the proper process, of course).

The hydrogen released into the environment is a non-polluting element, making this type of fuel not only economical and reusable, but also completely eco-friendly. In addition, it is an ideal option for those regions that do not have sufficient natural resources (such as large rivers or lakes) to have large power plants, such as islands.

A full hydrogen charge for a private car takes an average of 5 to 10 minutes to run, while a full electric charge would take between 8 and 12 hours.[iv]

Disadvantages of hydrogen cars

The same characteristic that makes it eco-friendly and economical is what gives hydrogen as a fuel its biggest flaw: its simple composition makes it highly flammable in large quantities, so it requires a lot of investment to come up with protection systems to avoid the risk of fire.

But it is necessary to keep in mind that gasoline and gas are also highly flammable, and over the last century a lot of investment has been required to make cars safer and safer. With the right strategy, this disadvantage is off the table.

The lack of refueling infrastructure for hydrogen makes it difficult for hydrogen users to obtain fuel, so demand remains low compared to cars powered by fossil fuels or electricity.

However, this is another disadvantage that can be eliminated with adequate private and state investment, as is the case in Japan and China, which since the fall of 2020 is working on a nationwide hydrogen refueling system, taking a step forward in the race for clean energy and sustainable transportation.[v] In the end, hydrogen cars will be the first of its kind in the world.

At the end of the day, hydrogen cars are an efficient alternative to fossil fuels, so the trend remains to invest in this clean technology, with a view to a sustainable and lucrative future.

 

[i] https://www.hydrogeneurope.eu/

[ii] https://cincodias.elpais.com/cincodias/2021/02/12/mercados/1613147054_062758.html

[iii] https://www.motor.es/noticias/hidrogeno-inversion-futuro-201848701.html

[iv] https://blog.selfbank.es/hidrogeno-la-energia-del-futuro-la-inversion-del-futuro/

[v] https://www.xataka.com/vehiculos/china-apuesta-hidrogeno-mayor-mercado-coches-mundo-invierte-pilas-combustible-consolidacion-electrico

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