Analytical Instrumentation

  • What Are The Alternative Fuels for Cars? – Hydrogen

What Are The Alternative Fuels for Cars? – Hydrogen

Nov 19 2018 Read 1071 Times

As of June 2018, there were a whopping 38.2 million vehicles licensed for use in the UK. That’s a lot of carbon emissions being released into the environment each day. The problem is, people need access to a vehicle for work, travel and leisure. Instead of getting rid of vehicles, we need to look a how else we can power them.

This 6-part series will take a look at 5 alternative fuel solutions that can effectively power our roads without costing the environment.

First off, we’re looking at one of the most popular alternative fuel sources – hydrogen.

Hydrogen fuel cell cars

A hydrogen car is solely powered by hydrogen, which is injected into its fuel tank at refilling stations, similar to how you would fill up a traditional tank of petrol. The tank takes the energy from hydrogen and passes it through a fuel cell, which converts in into electrical energy.

You can find out more in the article ‘Method development for the analysis of C1-C5 hydrocarbons in fuel cell hydrogen with calibration gas generated from standard gas and liquids’.

Rather than producing harmful carbon dioxide or nitrogen oxide fumes, which damages our environment and accelerates global warming, hydrogen fuelled vehicles produce heat and water as by-products.

Where to get a hydrogen car?

Hydrogen cars are still a relatively new invention, with the first being introduced by Toyota in 2014. In the UK there’s currently only 3 hydrogen cars available on the market – Toyota Mirai, Honda FCV Clarity and Hyundai ix35.

But if your car runs on traditional fuel and you’d like to make the switch, you can usually have your car converted to a hydrogen-powered vehicle.

Advantages of Hydrogen as fuel

The main advantage and selling point of a hydrogen car is its benefit to the environment. There are no harmful exhaust emissions and hydrogen can be made using renewable electricity via electrolysis. Hydrogen cars also tend to have cheaper road tax, as they are cleaner vehicles. Motorists will even save if they drive in Central London, as they’ll be exempt from the congestion charge.

Disadvantages of Hydrogen as fuel

While the environmental benefits are a huge swaying point for many, there are a few downsides to driving with hydrogen. Firstly, it costs more to fill up your tank. On average, it’ll cost between £50-75 to fill up a tank of hydrogen. To combat this, however, Toyota are offering a £750/month contract hire scheme, including maintenance and hydrogen fuel to make the car more affordable.

As a fuel, hydrogen is also quite difficult to find, with only 13 hydrogen filling stations open in the UK at the moment. Of those 13, six are located within the M25, meaning it’s even harder to find if you’re in the North. There are plans to open more, however, with a new £23 million fund to boost the use of hydrogen-fuelled vehicles in the UK.

Going green

Hydrogen is just one of the many alternative solutions for fuel that we’re going to take a look at in this series. Want to know more? Check out part two, which will focus on electric as an alternative fuel for cars.

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