Fuel Cell Vehicles- An Emerging Technology in 2015

FCV (Fuel Cell Vehicles) have potentiality of significant reduction of people’s dependence on low emissions harmful and foreign oil which contributes to change in climates. FCVs operate on not gasoline but hydrogen gas and emitting no tailpipe harmful emissions. Numerous challenges for overcoming will be posed before the FCV becomes competitive with vehicles conventional but benefits potentiality of the technology is quite substantial.

Working of Fuel Cells:

PEM (Polymer Electrolyte Membrane) fuel cells that have usage in automobiles are also known as Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel cells which provide usage of oxygen and hydrogen fuel from air for production of electricity.  Numerous fuel cells have been designed for providing usage in vehicles for production of least of 1.16 volts of electricity that is far from that which is enough for powering a vehicle. So multiple cells are assembled to fuel cell stack. Power potential causing generation of fuel cell stack gives provision to depending on size and number of single fuel cells which comprise surface area and stack of PEM.


Least amount of emissions of Greenhouse Gas: Diesel- and Gasoline-powered vehicles cause emission of GHGs (greenhouse gases) which is mostly CO2 (carbon dioxide) which contributes to change of climate globally. FCV which are powered by hydrogen that is pure emits only water and heat and no GHGs from tailpipe. Production of hydrogen for powering FCV generates GHGs by depending on method of production. But it is lesser than diesel vehicles and conventional gasoline emission.

Reduction of oil depending factors: FCVs cause reduction of depending on foreign oil because hydrogen is derived from sources that are domestic like coal and natural gas and resources that are renewable like biogas, agricultural waste and water. This makes nation’s economy dependent lesser on different nations and lesser vulnerable to shocks of price of oil from increased oil volatile market.

Lessening of air pollutants: Highway vehicles provide emission of share significantly of air pollutants which contributes to harmful and smog particulates in US. FCV power pure hydrogen with no emission of pollutants that are harmful. In case hydrogen has its production from fossil fuels there is production of pollutants but this is lesser than generating amounts caused by tailpipe conventional vehicle emissions.

Challenges: FCVs are not available commercially but few hundreds have evaluating in field tests. Numerous challenges are overcome before FCVs become competitive, successful consumer alternatives.

Cost of vehicle: FCVs are expensive currently than hybrids and conventional vehicles but expenses have significantly decreased and approach goal of DOEs for 2017. There should be lowering of costs of production continuously by manufacturers especially for hydrogen and fuel cell stack storage such that FCVs have competition with technologies that are conventional.

Storage of on board Hydrogen: FCVs give provision for enough storage of hydrogen for travelling at a distance with vehicles of gasoline between fill-ups that is 300 miles to 400 miles. But this should be achieved through numerous vehicle models and makes with no compromise on expectations of customer of safety, cost, performance and space.

Reliability and durability of fuel cell: Systems of fuel cell are not so much durable as IC (Internal Combustion) engines with respect to humidity and temperature ranges. Durability of fuel cell stack in environments of real-world is presently half of which that is required for commercialization. Durability has substantially increased over few past years from 29,000 miles to 75,000 miles. But there is a belief by experts that 150,000 miles lifetime expected is important for FCVs for competing with vehicles of gasoline.

 To get hydrogen for consumers: Latest infrastructure for dispensing, producing and delivering hydrogen to people does not support adoption widespread of FCVs.

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