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A hydrogen vehicle is a vehicle
Vehicle
A vehicle is a device that is designed or used to transport people or cargo. Most often vehicles are manufactured, such as bicycles, cars, motorcycles, trains, ships, boats, and aircraft....

 that uses hydrogen
Hydrogen
Hydrogen is the chemical element with atomic number 1. It is represented by the symbol H. With an average atomic weight of , hydrogen is the lightest and most abundant chemical element, constituting roughly 75% of the Universe's chemical elemental mass. Stars in the main sequence are mainly...

 as its onboard fuel for motive power. Hydrogen vehicles include hydrogen fueled space rockets, as well as automobile
Automobile
An automobile, autocar, motor car or car is a wheeled motor vehicle used for transporting passengers, which also carries its own engine or motor...

s and other transportation vehicles. The power plants of such vehicles convert the chemical energy of hydrogen to mechanical energy
Mechanical energy
In physics, mechanical energy is the sum of potential energy and kinetic energy present in the components of a mechanical system. It is the energy associated with the motion and position of an object. The law of conservation of energy states that in an isolated system that is only subject to...

 either by burning hydrogen in an internal combustion engine
Internal combustion engine
The internal combustion engine is an engine in which the combustion of a fuel occurs with an oxidizer in a combustion chamber. In an internal combustion engine, the expansion of the high-temperature and high -pressure gases produced by combustion apply direct force to some component of the engine...

, or by reacting hydrogen with oxygen in a fuel cell
Fuel cell
A fuel cell is a device that converts the chemical energy from a fuel into electricity through a chemical reaction with oxygen or another oxidizing agent. Hydrogen is the most common fuel, but hydrocarbons such as natural gas and alcohols like methanol are sometimes used...

 to run electric motors. Widespread use of hydrogen for fueling transportation is a key element of a proposed hydrogen economy
Hydrogen economy
The hydrogen economy is a proposed system of delivering energy using hydrogen. The term hydrogen economy was coined by John Bockris during a talk he gave in 1970 at General Motors Technical Center....

.

Hydrogen fuel does not occur naturally on Earth and thus is not an energy source, but is an energy carrier. Currently it is most frequently made from methane or other fossil fuel
Fossil fuel
Fossil fuels are fuels formed by natural processes such as anaerobic decomposition of buried dead organisms. The age of the organisms and their resulting fossil fuels is typically millions of years, and sometimes exceeds 650 million years...

s. However, it can be produced from a wide range of sources (such as wind, solar, or nuclear) that are intermittent, too diffuse or too cumbersome to directly propel vehicles. Integrated wind-to-hydrogen plants, using electrolysis of water
Electrolysis of water
Electrolysis of water is the decomposition of water into oxygen and hydrogen gas due to an electric current being passed through the water.-Principle:...

, are exploring technologies to deliver costs low enough, and quantities great enough, to compete with traditional energy sources.

Many companies are working to develop technologies that might efficiently exploit the potential of hydrogen energy for mobile uses. The attraction of using hydrogen as an energy currency is that, if hydrogen is prepared without using fossil fuel inputs, vehicle propulsion would not contribute to carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring chemical compound composed of two oxygen atoms covalently bonded to a single carbon atom...

 emissions. The drawbacks of hydrogen use are low energy content per unit volume, high tankage weights, very high storage vessel pressures, the storage, transportation and filling of gaseous or liquid hydrogen
Liquid hydrogen
Liquid hydrogen is the liquid state of the element hydrogen. Hydrogen is found naturally in the molecular H2 form.To exist as a liquid, H2 must be pressurized above and cooled below hydrogen's Critical point. However, for hydrogen to be in a full liquid state without boiling off, it needs to be...

 in vehicles, the large investment in infrastructure that would be required to fuel vehicles, and the inefficiency of production processes.

Vehicles



Bus
Bus
A bus is a road vehicle designed to carry passengers. Buses can have a capacity as high as 300 passengers. The most common type of bus is the single-decker bus, with larger loads carried by double-decker buses and articulated buses, and smaller loads carried by midibuses and minibuses; coaches are...

es, trains
Hydrail
Hydrail is the generic term denoting all forms of rail vehicles, large or small, which use on-board hydrogen as a source of energy to power the traction motors, or the auxiliaries, or both...

, PHB bicycles
PHB (bicycle)
The PHB is a hydrogen bicycle, power-assisted by an electric motor that gets its electricity from a fuel cell. It is manufactured by Pearl , unveiled at the 9th China International Exhibition on Gas Technology, Equipment and Applications in 2007.-Specifications:The vehicle weighs approximately...

, canal boats
Canal boat (hydrogen)
The canal boat Ross Barlow is a hybrid hydrogen narrowboat, power-assisted by an electric motor whose electricity is supplied by a fuel cell or a battery. It debuted on 21 September 2007.-History:...

, cargo bikes, golf carts, motorcycles
ENV
The ENV is an electric motorcycle prototype powered by an hydrogen fuel cell. It is being developed by Intelligent Energy, a British company.-Specifications:...

, wheelchairs, ships
Hydrogen ship
A hydrogen ship is a hydrogen-fueled ship, power-assisted by an electric motor that gets its electricity from a fuel cell.-History:In 2000, the 22-person Hydra ship was demonstrated, and in 2003 the Duffy-Herreshoff watertaxi went into service. 2003 saw the debut of Yacht No. 1, as well...

, airplanes, submarine
Submarine
A submarine is a watercraft capable of independent operation below the surface of the water. It differs from a submersible, which has more limited underwater capability...

s, and rocket
Rocket
A rocket is a missile, spacecraft, aircraft or other vehicle which obtains thrust from a rocket engine. In all rockets, the exhaust is formed entirely from propellants carried within the rocket before use. Rocket engines work by action and reaction...

s can already run on hydrogen, in various forms. NASA
NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

 uses hydrogen to launch Space Shuttle
Space Shuttle
The Space Shuttle was a manned orbital rocket and spacecraft system operated by NASA on 135 missions from 1981 to 2011. The system combined rocket launch, orbital spacecraft, and re-entry spaceplane with modular add-ons...

s into space. There is even a working toy model car that runs on solar power
Solar power
Solar energy, radiant light and heat from the sun, has been harnessed by humans since ancient times using a range of ever-evolving technologies. Solar radiation, along with secondary solar-powered resources such as wind and wave power, hydroelectricity and biomass, account for most of the available...

, using a regenerative fuel cell to store energy in the form of hydrogen and oxygen
Oxygen
Oxygen is the element with atomic number 8 and represented by the symbol O. Its name derives from the Greek roots ὀξύς and -γενής , because at the time of naming, it was mistakenly thought that all acids required oxygen in their composition...

 gas. It can then convert the fuel back into water to release the solar energy.

The current land speed record for a hydrogen-powered vehicle is 286.476 mph (461.038 km/h) set by Ohio State University
Ohio State University
The Ohio State University, commonly referred to as Ohio State, is a public research university located in Columbus, Ohio. It was originally founded in 1870 as a land-grant university and is currently the third largest university campus in the United States...

's Buckeye Bullet 2
Buckeye Bullet
The Buckeye Bullet is the name of a series of student-built, alternative-fuel race cars created by The Ohio State University students led by Dr. Giorgio Rizzoni at the Center for Automotive Research...

, which achieved a "flying-mile" speed of 280.007 mph (450.628 km/h) at the Bonneville Salt Flats in August 2008. For production-style vehicles, the current record for a hydrogen-powered vehicle is 333.38 km/h (207.2 mph) set by a prototype Ford Fusion Hydrogen 999 Fuel Cell Race Car at Bonneville Salt Flats in Wendover
Wendover
Wendover is a market town that sits at the foot of the Chiltern Hills in Buckinghamshire, England. It is also a civil parish within Aylesbury Vale district...

, Utah
Utah
Utah is a state in the Western United States. It was the 45th state to join the Union, on January 4, 1896. Approximately 80% of Utah's 2,763,885 people live along the Wasatch Front, centering on Salt Lake City. This leaves vast expanses of the state nearly uninhabited, making the population the...

 in August 2007. It was accompanied by a large compressed oxygen tank to increase power. Honda
Honda
is a Japanese public multinational corporation primarily known as a manufacturer of automobiles and motorcycles.Honda has been the world's largest motorcycle manufacturer since 1959, as well as the world's largest manufacturer of internal combustion engines measured by volume, producing more than...

 has also created a concept called the FC Sport that it hopes will challenge that record.

Automobiles





Many companies are currently researching the feasibility of building hydrogen cars, and some automobile manufacturers have begun developing hydrogen cars (see list of fuel cell vehicles). Funding has come from both private and government sources. However, the Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company is an American multinational automaker based in Dearborn, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. The automaker was founded by Henry Ford and incorporated on June 16, 1903. In addition to the Ford and Lincoln brands, Ford also owns a small stake in Mazda in Japan and Aston Martin in the UK...

 has dropped its plans to develop hydrogen cars, stating that "The next major step in Ford’s plan is to increase over time the volume of electrified vehicles". Similarly, French Renault-Nissan announced in 2009 that it is cancelling its hydrogen car R&D efforts. As of October 2009, General Motors
General Motors
General Motors Company , commonly known as GM, formerly incorporated as General Motors Corporation, is an American multinational automotive corporation headquartered in Detroit, Michigan and the world's second-largest automaker in 2010...

 CEO Fritz Henderson noted that GM had reduced its hydrogen program because the cost of building hydrogen cars was too high. "It's still a ways away from commercialization", he said. The "Volt will likely cost around $40,000 while a hydrogen vehicle would cost around $400,000. Most hydrogen cars are currently only available as demonstration models for lease in limited numbers and are not yet ready for general public use. The estimated number of hydrogen-powered cars in the United States was 200 as of October 2009, mostly in California.

Honda
Honda
is a Japanese public multinational corporation primarily known as a manufacturer of automobiles and motorcycles.Honda has been the world's largest motorcycle manufacturer since 1959, as well as the world's largest manufacturer of internal combustion engines measured by volume, producing more than...

 introduced its first fuel cell vehicle in 1999 called the FCX
Honda FCX
The Honda FCX Clarity is a hydrogen fuel cell automobile manufactured by Honda. The design is based on the 2006 Honda FCX Concept. The FCX Clarity demonstrates electric car qualities such as zero emissions while offering 5 minute refueling times and long range in a full function large sedan...

 and has since then introduced the second generation FCX Clarity. In 2007 at the Greater Los Angeles Auto Show, Honda unveiled the first production model of the FCX Clarity. Limited marketing of the FCX Clarity began in June 2008 in the United States, and it was introduced in Japan in November 2008. The FCX Clarity is available in the U.S. only in Los Angeles Area
Greater Los Angeles Area
The Greater Los Angeles Area, or the Southland, is a term used for the Combined Statistical Area sprawled over five counties in the southern part of California, namely Los Angeles County, Orange County, San Bernardino County, Riverside County and Ventura County...

, where 16 hydrogen filling stations are available, and as of July 2009, ten drivers had leased the Clarity for US$600 a month. Honda stated that it could start mass producing vehicles based on the FCX concept by the year 2020 and reaffirmed, in 2009, that it continues to put resources into hydrogen fuel cell development, which it saw as "a better long term bet than batteries and plug-in vehicles". In December 2010, however, it introduced a BEV version of the Honda Fit, using elements of its hydrogen engine design, stating that the "industry trend seems to be focused on the battery electric vehicle".

In 2011, Hyundai
Hyundai
Hyundai ) is a global conglomerate company, part of the Korean chaebol, that was founded in South Korea by one of the most famous businessmen in Korean history: Chung Ju-yung...

 revealed its Blue2 ("Blue Square") fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV), and stated that it plans to have FCEVs available for sale by 2014. In early 2009, Daimler announced plans to begin its FC vehicle production in 2009 with the aim of 100,000 vehicles in 2012–2013. In 2009, Nissan started testing a new FC vehicle in Japan. In September 2009, Daimler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Renault, Nissan and Toyota issued a joint statement about their undertaking to further develop and launch fuel-cell electric vehicles as early as 2015.

In February 2010 Lotus Cars
Lotus Cars
Lotus Cars is a British manufacturer of sports and racing cars based at the former site of RAF Hethel, a World War II airfield in Norfolk. The company designs and builds race and production automobiles of light weight and fine handling characteristics...

 announced that it was developing a fleet of hydrogen taxis in London. London's deputy mayor, Kit Malthouse
Kit Malthouse
Kit Malthouse is Deputy Mayor of London with responsibility for the Metropolitan Police. A politician, businessman and occasional writer, he is a Conservative and a member of the London Assembly representing the West Central constituency, which encompasses the City of Westminster, the London...

, said he hoped six filling stations would be available and that around 20 to 50 taxis would be in operation by the time of the 2012 Olympic Games, as well as 150 hydrogen-powered buses. In March 2010, General Motors said it had not abandoned fuel-cell technology and is still targeted to introduce hydrogen vehicles to retail customers by 2015. Charles Freese, GM’s executive director of global powertrain engineering, stated that the company believes that both fuel-cell vehicles and battery electric vehicles are needed for reduction of greenhouse gases and reliance on oil, and the U.S. should follow Germany and Japan in adopting a more uniform strategy on advanced technology options. Both countries have announced plans to open 1,000 hydrogen fuel stations.

Buses



Fuel cell buses (as opposed to hydrogen fueled buses) are being trialed
Fuel cell bus trial
This page contains information on some fuel cell bus trials.Perth, Western Australia, a Fuel Cell Bus Club member, agreed to share information with the following two trials:...

 by several manufacturers in different locations. The Fuel Cell Bus Club
Fuel Cell Bus Club
The Fuel Cell Bus Club comprises the participants of the projects CUTE, ECTOS and STEP. Their website title says "the first fuel cell bus fleet"....

 is a global fuel cell bus testing collaboration.

Hydrogen was first stored in roof mounted tanks, although models are now incorporating onboard tanks. Some double deck models use between floor tanks.

Bicycles



Pearl Hydrogen Power Sources of Shanghai, China, unveiled a hydrogen bicycle at the 9th China International Exhibition on Gas Technology, Equipment and Applications in 2007.

Motorcycles and scooters


ENV
ENV
The ENV is an electric motorcycle prototype powered by an hydrogen fuel cell. It is being developed by Intelligent Energy, a British company.-Specifications:...

 develops electric motorcycles powered by a hydrogen fuel cell, including the Crosscage and Biplane. Other manufacturers as Vectrix are working on hydrogen scooters. Finally, hydrogen fuel cell-electric hybrid scooters are being made such as the Suzuki Burgman Fuel cell scooter and the FHybrid.

Quads and tractors


Autostudi S.r.l's H-Due is a hydrogen-powered quad, capable of transporting 1-3 passengers. A concept for a hydrogen powered tractor has been proposed.

Airplanes




Companies such as Boeing
Boeing
The Boeing Company is an American multinational aerospace and defense corporation, founded in 1916 by William E. Boeing in Seattle, Washington. Boeing has expanded over the years, merging with McDonnell Douglas in 1997. Boeing Corporate headquarters has been in Chicago, Illinois since 2001...

, Lange Aviation, and the German Aerospace Center
German Aerospace Center
The German Aerospace Center is the national centre for aerospace, energy and transportation research of the Federal Republic of Germany. It has multiple locations throughout Germany. Its headquarters are located in Cologne. It is engaged in a wide range of research and development projects in...

 pursue hydrogen as fuel for manned and unmanned airplanes. In February 2008 Boeing tested a manned flight of a small aircraft powered by a hydrogen fuel cell. Unmanned hydrogen planes have also been tested. For large passenger airplanes however, The Times
The Times
The Times is a British daily national newspaper, first published in London in 1785 under the title The Daily Universal Register . The Times and its sister paper The Sunday Times are published by Times Newspapers Limited, a subsidiary since 1981 of News International...

reported that "Boeing said that hydrogen fuel cells were unlikely to power the engines of large passenger jet airplanes but could be used as backup or auxiliary power units onboard."

In July 2010 Boeing unveiled its hydrogen powered Phantom Eye
Boeing Phantom Eye
The Boeing Phantom Eye is a high altitude, long endurance unmanned aerial vehicle hydrogen-powered spy plane developed by Boeing Phantom Works...

 UAV
Unmanned aerial vehicle
An unmanned aerial vehicle , also known as a unmanned aircraft system , remotely piloted aircraft or unmanned aircraft, is a machine which functions either by the remote control of a navigator or pilot or autonomously, that is, as a self-directing entity...

, powered by two Ford internal combustion engines that have been converted to run on hydrogen.

In Europe, the Reaction Engines A2
Reaction Engines A2
|-See also:-External links:* *...

 has been proposed to use the thermodynamic properties of liquid hydrogen
Liquid hydrogen
Liquid hydrogen is the liquid state of the element hydrogen. Hydrogen is found naturally in the molecular H2 form.To exist as a liquid, H2 must be pressurized above and cooled below hydrogen's Critical point. However, for hydrogen to be in a full liquid state without boiling off, it needs to be...

 to achieve very high speed, long distance (antipodal) flight by burning it in a precooled jet engine.

Fork trucks


A HICE forklift or HICE lift truck is a hydrogen
Hydrogen
Hydrogen is the chemical element with atomic number 1. It is represented by the symbol H. With an average atomic weight of , hydrogen is the lightest and most abundant chemical element, constituting roughly 75% of the Universe's chemical elemental mass. Stars in the main sequence are mainly...

 fueled, internal combustion engine
Internal combustion engine
The internal combustion engine is an engine in which the combustion of a fuel occurs with an oxidizer in a combustion chamber. In an internal combustion engine, the expansion of the high-temperature and high -pressure gases produced by combustion apply direct force to some component of the engine...

 powered industrial forklift truck
Forklift truck
A forklift is a powered industrial truck used to lift and transport materials. The modern forklift was developed in the 1920s by various companies including the transmission manufacturing company Clark and the hoist company Yale & Towne Manufacturing...

 used for lifting and transport
Transport
Transport or transportation is the movement of people, cattle, animals and goods from one location to another. Modes of transport include air, rail, road, water, cable, pipeline, and space. The field can be divided into infrastructure, vehicles, and operations...

ing materials. The first production HICE forklift truck based on the Linde X39 Diesel was presented at an exposition in Hannover on May 27, 2008. It used a 2.0 litre, 43 kW diesel internal combustion engine converted to use hydrogen as a fuel with the use of a compressor and direct injection. The hydrogen tank
Hydrogen tank
A Hydrogen tank is used for hydrogen storage. The first type IV hydrogen tanks for compressed hydrogen at 700 Bar were demonstrated in 2001, the first fuel cell vehicles on the road with type IV tanks are the Toyota FCHV, Mercedes-Benz F-Cell and the HydroGen4.At the hydrogen station Hamburg...

 is filled with 26 liters of hydrogen at 350 bar pressure.

Rockets


Many large rocket
Rocket
A rocket is a missile, spacecraft, aircraft or other vehicle which obtains thrust from a rocket engine. In all rockets, the exhaust is formed entirely from propellants carried within the rocket before use. Rocket engines work by action and reaction...

s use liquified cryogenic hydrogen as a propellant. In addition they use liquified cryogenic oxygen, and liquified cryogenic hydrogen in the space shuttle, to charge the fuel cells that power the electrical systems. The biproduct of the fuel cell is water, and is used for drinking, and any other application that requires water in space. The oxygen is also used to provide the rocket engines with oxygen for better thrust in space, due to the lack of oxygen in space. Just prior to a launch, the rocket fuel tanks are filled and chilled. The hydrogen fuel used in the rocket engine is directly ignited. The main advantage of hydrogen is that the velocity change
Delta-v
In astrodynamics a Δv or delta-v is a scalar which takes units of speed. It is a measure of the amount of "effort" that is needed to change from one trajectory to another by making an orbital maneuver....

 of a stage employing it is little different from a stage using denser fuel, while the lift-off weight of the stage is less. Particularly when used for upper stages this permits a lighter rocket for any given payload. The main disadvantage of hydrogen in this application is the low density and deeply cryogenic nature, requiring insulation; this makes the hydrogen tanks relatively heavy, which offsets the advantages for this application, but these disadvantages could be overcome through the advent of better on board hydrogen refrigeration, and liquifier technology to produce fuel needed for long distance space travel to a destination where salt water is available, such as possibly comets, moons, and planets. But another advantage of using cryogenic fuel is that the fuel system is able to be routed in specific paths to act as a cooling system for the rocket, which is crucial for temperature regulation in extended use of rocket propulsion.

Internal combustion vehicle



Hydrogen internal combustion engine cars are different from hydrogen fuel cell cars. The hydrogen internal combustion car
Hydrogen internal combustion engine vehicle
A hydrogen internal combustion engine vehicle is a type of hydrogen vehicle using an internal combustion engine. Hydrogen internal combustion engine vehicles are different from hydrogen fuel cell vehicles ; the hydrogen internal combustion engine is simply a modified version of the traditional...

 is a slightly modified version of the traditional gasoline internal combustion engine
Internal combustion engine
The internal combustion engine is an engine in which the combustion of a fuel occurs with an oxidizer in a combustion chamber. In an internal combustion engine, the expansion of the high-temperature and high -pressure gases produced by combustion apply direct force to some component of the engine...

 car. These hydrogen engines burn fuel in the same manner that gasoline engines do.

Francois Isaac de Rivaz
François Isaac de Rivaz
François Isaac de Rivaz was a French politician, chancellor, Deputé , entrepreneur and inventor. In retirement, as a Swiss citizen, circa 1807, he invented a hydrogen powered internal combustion engine with electric ignition...

 designed in 1807 the first hydrogen-fueled internal combustion engine
De Rivaz engine
The de Rivaz engine was a pioneering reciprocating engine designed and developed from 1804 by the Franco-Swiss inventor Isaac de Rivaz. The engine has a claim to be the world's first internal combustion engine and contained some features of modern engines including spark ignition and the use of...

. Paul Dieges patented in 1970 a modification to internal combustion engines which allowed a gasoline-powered engine to run on hydrogen .

Mazda has developed Wankel engine
Wankel engine
The Wankel engine is a type of internal combustion engine using an eccentric rotary design to convert pressure into a rotating motion instead of using reciprocating pistons. Its four-stroke cycle takes place in a space between the inside of an oval-like epitrochoid-shaped housing and a rotor that...

s burning hydrogen. The advantage of using ICE (internal combustion engine) like Wankel and piston engines is the cost of retooling for production is much lower. Existing-technology ICE can still be applied for solving those problems where fuel cells are not a viable solution insofar, for example in cold-weather applications.

HICE forklift trucks have been demonstrated based on converted diesel internal combustion engines with direct injection.

Fuel cell


While fuel cells themselves are potentially highly energy efficient, and working prototypes were made by Francis Thomas Bacon
Francis Thomas Bacon
Francis Thomas Bacon OBE FREng F.R.S. was an English engineer who developed the first practical hydrogen–oxygen fuel cell.- Life and works :...

 in 1959 and Roger E. Billings
Roger E. Billings
Roger Evan Billings is an American businessman, inventor and developer of high-tech products. Billings is best known for his pioneering work in the computer industry and as a developer of hydrogen energy technologies....

 in the 1960s, at least four technical obstacles and other political considerations exist regarding the development and use of a fuel cell-powered hydrogen car: the cost, reliability and durability of the fuel cells; storage of hydrogen for use in fuel cells; production of hydrogen; and delivery of hydrogen to vehicles.

Fuel cell cost


Currently, hydrogen fuel cells are relatively expensive to produce and some are fragile. As of October 2009, Fortune magazine estimated the cost of producing the Honda Clarity at $300,000 per car. Also, many designs require rare substances such as platinum
Platinum
Platinum is a chemical element with the chemical symbol Pt and an atomic number of 78. Its name is derived from the Spanish term platina del Pinto, which is literally translated into "little silver of the Pinto River." It is a dense, malleable, ductile, precious, gray-white transition metal...

 as a catalyst in order to work properly. Occasionally, a catalyst can become contaminated by impurities in the hydrogen supply, rendering the fuel cell inoperable. In 2010, research and design advances developed a new nickel
Nickel
Nickel is a chemical element with the chemical symbol Ni and atomic number 28. It is a silvery-white lustrous metal with a slight golden tinge. Nickel belongs to the transition metals and is hard and ductile...

-tin
Tin
Tin is a chemical element with the symbol Sn and atomic number 50. It is a main group metal in group 14 of the periodic table. Tin shows chemical similarity to both neighboring group 14 elements, germanium and lead and has two possible oxidation states, +2 and the slightly more stable +4...

 nanometal catalyst which lowers the cost of cells.

Fuel cells are generally priced in USD/kW. The U.S. Department of Energy estimated that the cost of a fuel cell for an automobile in 2002 was approximately $275/kw, which translated into each vehicle costing more than 1 million dollars. However, by 2010, the Department of Energy estimated that the cost had fallen 80% and that such fuel cells could be manufactured for $51/kW, assuming high-volume manufacturing cost savings. Ballard Power Systems also published similar data. Their 2005 figure was $73 USD/kW (based on high volume manufacturing estimates), which they said was on track to achieve the U.S. Department of Energy's 2012 goal of $30 USD/kW. This would achieve closer parity with internal combustion engines for automotive applications, allowing a 100 kW fuel cell to be produced for $3000. 100 kW is about 134 hp
Horsepower
Horsepower is the name of several units of measurement of power. The most common definitions equal between 735.5 and 750 watts.Horsepower was originally defined to compare the output of steam engines with the power of draft horses in continuous operation. The unit was widely adopted to measure the...

.

Freezing conditions


Temperatures below freezing are a concern with fuel cells operations. Operational fuel cells have an internal vaporous water environment that could solidify if the fuel cell and contents are not kept above 0° Celsius (32°F). Most fuel cell designs are not as yet robust enough to survive in below-freezing environments. Frozen solid, especially before start up, they would not be able to begin working. Once running though, heat is a byproduct of the fuel cell process, which would keep the fuel cell at an adequate operational temperature to function correctly. This makes startup of the fuel cell a concern in cold weather operation. Places such as Alaska where temperatures can reach -40 °C at startup would not be able to use early model fuel cells. Ballard announced in 2006 that it had already hit the U.S. DoE's 2010 target for cold weather starting which was 50% power achieved in 30 seconds at -20 °C.

Fuel cells have startup and long term reliability problems. Early gasoline engines had the characteristic of higher heat dissipation once running, whereas fuels cells emit less heat, making the warm up process somewhat less quick.

Service life


Although service life is coupled to cost, fuel cells have to be compared to existing machines with a service life in excess of 5000 hours for stationary and light-duty. Marine PEM
Proton exchange membrane
A proton exchange membrane or polymer electrolyte membrane is a semipermeable membrane generally made from ionomers and designed to conduct protons while being impermeable to gases such as oxygen or hydrogen...

 fuel cells reached the target in 2004. Current service life
Service life
A product's service life is its expected lifetime, or the acceptable period of use in service. It is the time that any manufactured item can be expected to be 'serviceable' or supported by its manufacturer....

 is 7,300 hours under cycling conditions. Research is going on especially for heavy duty like in the bus trials which are targeted up to a service life of 30,000 hours.

Hydrogen


Hydrogen does not come as a pre-existing source of energy
Energy
In physics, energy is an indirectly observed quantity. It is often understood as the ability a physical system has to do work on other physical systems...

 like fossil fuel
Fossil fuel
Fossil fuels are fuels formed by natural processes such as anaerobic decomposition of buried dead organisms. The age of the organisms and their resulting fossil fuels is typically millions of years, and sometimes exceeds 650 million years...

s, but is first produced and then stored as a carrier, much like a battery
Battery (electricity)
An electrical battery is one or more electrochemical cells that convert stored chemical energy into electrical energy. Since the invention of the first battery in 1800 by Alessandro Volta and especially since the technically improved Daniell cell in 1836, batteries have become a common power...

. Hydrogen for vehicle uses needs to be produced using either renewable or non-renewable energy sources. A suggested benefit of large-scale deployment of hydrogen vehicles is that it could lead to decreased emissions of greenhouse gases and ozone precursors.

According to the United States Department of Energy
United States Department of Energy
The United States Department of Energy is a Cabinet-level department of the United States government concerned with the United States' policies regarding energy and safety in handling nuclear material...

 "Producing hydrogen from natural gas does result in some greenhouse gas emissions. When compared to ICE vehicles using gasoline, however, fuel cell vehicles using hydrogen produced from natural gas reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 60%. While methods of hydrogen production that do not use fossil fuel would be more sustainable, currently renewable energy represents only a small percentage of energy generated, and power produced from renewable sources can be used in electric vehicles and for non-vehicle applications.

The challenges facing the use of hydrogen in vehicles include production, storage, transport and distribution. Because of all these challenges, the well-to-wheel efficiency for hydrogen is less than 25%.

Production



The molecular hydrogen needed as an on-board fuel for hydrogen vehicles can be obtained through many thermochemical methods utilizing natural gas
Natural gas
Natural gas is a naturally occurring gas mixture consisting primarily of methane, typically with 0–20% higher hydrocarbons . It is found associated with other hydrocarbon fuel, in coal beds, as methane clathrates, and is an important fuel source and a major feedstock for fertilizers.Most natural...

, coal
Coal
Coal is a combustible black or brownish-black sedimentary rock usually occurring in rock strata in layers or veins called coal beds or coal seams. The harder forms, such as anthracite coal, can be regarded as metamorphic rock because of later exposure to elevated temperature and pressure...

 (by a process known as coal gasification), liquefied petroleum gas, biomass
Biomass
Biomass, as a renewable energy source, is biological material from living, or recently living organisms. As an energy source, biomass can either be used directly, or converted into other energy products such as biofuel....

 (biomass gasification), by a process called thermolysis, or as a microbial waste product called biohydrogen
Biohydrogen
Biohydrogen is defined as hydrogen produced biologically, most commonly by algae and bacteria. Biohydrogen is a potential biofuel obtainable from both cultivation and waste organic materials.-Introduction:...

 or Biological hydrogen production. 95% of hydrogen is produced using natural gas, and 85% of hydrogen produced is used to remove sulfur from gasoline. Hydrogen can also be produced from water
Water
Water is a chemical substance with the chemical formula H2O. A water molecule contains one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms connected by covalent bonds. Water is a liquid at ambient conditions, but it often co-exists on Earth with its solid state, ice, and gaseous state . Water also exists in a...

 by electrolysis
Electrolysis
In chemistry and manufacturing, electrolysis is a method of using a direct electric current to drive an otherwise non-spontaneous chemical reaction...

 or by chemical reduction using chemical hydrides or aluminum. Current technologies for manufacturing hydrogen use energy in various forms, totaling between 25 and 50 percent of the higher heating value of the hydrogen fuel, used to produce, compress or liquefy, and transmit the hydrogen by pipeline or truck.

Environmental consequences of the production of hydrogen from fossil energy resources include the emission of greenhouse gases, a consequence that would also result from the on-board reforming of methanol into hydrogen. Studies comparing the environmental consequences of hydrogen production and use in fuel-cell vehicles to the refining of petroleum and combustion in conventional automobile engines find a net reduction of ozone and greenhouse gases in favor of hydrogen. Hydrogen production using renewable energy resources would not create such emissions or, in the case of biomass, would create near-zero net emissions assuming new biomass is grown in place of that converted to hydrogen. However the same land could be used to create Biodiesel
Biodiesel
Biodiesel refers to a vegetable oil- or animal fat-based diesel fuel consisting of long-chain alkyl esters. Biodiesel is typically made by chemically reacting lipids with an alcohol....

, usable with (at most) minor alterations to existing well developed and relatively efficient diesel engines. In either case, the scale of renewable energy production today is small and would need to be greatly expanded to be used in producing hydrogen for a significant part of transportation needs. As of December 2008, less than 3 percent of U.S. electricity was produced from renewable sources, not including dams. In a few countries, renewable sources are being used more widely to produce energy and hydrogen. For example, Iceland
Iceland
Iceland , described as the Republic of Iceland, is a Nordic and European island country in the North Atlantic Ocean, on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Iceland also refers to the main island of the country, which contains almost all the population and almost all the land area. The country has a population...

 is using geothermal power to produce hydrogen, and Denmark
Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

 is using wind.

Storage




Hydrogen has a very low volumetric energy density
Density
The mass density or density of a material is defined as its mass per unit volume. The symbol most often used for density is ρ . In some cases , density is also defined as its weight per unit volume; although, this quantity is more properly called specific weight...

 at ambient conditions, equal to about one-third that of methane. Even when the fuel is stored as liquid hydrogen
Liquid hydrogen
Liquid hydrogen is the liquid state of the element hydrogen. Hydrogen is found naturally in the molecular H2 form.To exist as a liquid, H2 must be pressurized above and cooled below hydrogen's Critical point. However, for hydrogen to be in a full liquid state without boiling off, it needs to be...

 in a cryogenic tank or in a compressed hydrogen
Compressed hydrogen
Compressed hydrogen is the gaseous state of the element hydrogen kept under pressure. Compressed hydrogen in hydrogen tanks at 350 bar and 700 bar is used for mobile hydrogen storage in hydrogen vehicles...

 storage tank
Hydrogen tank
A Hydrogen tank is used for hydrogen storage. The first type IV hydrogen tanks for compressed hydrogen at 700 Bar were demonstrated in 2001, the first fuel cell vehicles on the road with type IV tanks are the Toyota FCHV, Mercedes-Benz F-Cell and the HydroGen4.At the hydrogen station Hamburg...

, the volumetric energy density (megajoules per liter) is small relative to that of gasoline. Hydrogen has a three times higher energy density
Energy density
Energy density is a term used for the amount of energy stored in a given system or region of space per unit volume. Often only the useful or extractable energy is quantified, which is to say that chemically inaccessible energy such as rest mass energy is ignored...

 by mass
Mass
Mass can be defined as a quantitive measure of the resistance an object has to change in its velocity.In physics, mass commonly refers to any of the following three properties of matter, which have been shown experimentally to be equivalent:...

 compared to gasoline (143 MJ/kg versus 46.9 MJ/kg). Some research has been done into using special crystal
Crystal
A crystal or crystalline solid is a solid material whose constituent atoms, molecules, or ions are arranged in an orderly repeating pattern extending in all three spatial dimensions. The scientific study of crystals and crystal formation is known as crystallography...

line materials to store hydrogen at greater densities and at lower pressures. A recent study by Dutch researcher Robin Gremaud has shown that metal hydride hydrogen tanks are actually 40 to 60-percent lighter than an equivalent energy battery pack on an electric vehicle permitting greater range for H2 cars. In 2011, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory
Los Alamos National Laboratory
Los Alamos National Laboratory is a United States Department of Energy national laboratory, managed and operated by Los Alamos National Security , located in Los Alamos, New Mexico...

 and University of Alabama
University of Alabama
The University of Alabama is a public coeducational university located in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, United States....

, working with the U.S. Department of Energy, found a new single-stage method for recharging ammonia borane, a hydrogen storage compound.

Infrastructure




The hydrogen infrastructure
Hydrogen infrastructure
A hydrogen infrastructure is the infrastructure of pipes and stations for distribution and sale of hydrogen fuel.-Hydrogen pipeline transport:Hydrogen pipeline transport is a transportation of hydrogen through a pipe as part of the hydrogen infrastructure...

 consists mainly of industrial hydrogen pipeline transport
Hydrogen pipeline transport
Hydrogen pipeline transport is a transportation of hydrogen through a pipe as part of the hydrogen infrastructure.-Economics:Hydrogen pipeline transport is used to transport hydrogen from the point of production or delivery to the point of demand...

 and hydrogen-equipped filling stations like those found on a hydrogen highway
Hydrogen highway
A hydrogen highway is a chain of hydrogen-equipped filling stations and other infrastructure along a road or highway which allow hydrogen powered cars to travel. It is an element of the hydrogen infrastructure that is generally assumed to be a pre-requisite for mass utilization of hydrogen cars....

. Hydrogen stations which are not situated near a hydrogen pipeline can obtain supply via hydrogen tank
Hydrogen tank
A Hydrogen tank is used for hydrogen storage. The first type IV hydrogen tanks for compressed hydrogen at 700 Bar were demonstrated in 2001, the first fuel cell vehicles on the road with type IV tanks are the Toyota FCHV, Mercedes-Benz F-Cell and the HydroGen4.At the hydrogen station Hamburg...

s, compressed hydrogen tube trailers, liquid hydrogen tank trucks or dedicated onsite production.

Hydrogen use would require the alteration of industry and transport on a scale never seen before in history. For example, according to GM, 70% of the U.S. population lives near a hydrogen-generating facility but has little access to hydrogen, despite its wide availability for commercial use. The distribution of hydrogen fuel for vehicles throughout the U.S. would require new hydrogen stations costing, by some estimates, 20 billion dollars. and 4.6 billion in the EU. Other estimates place the cost as high as half trillion dollars in the United States alone.

The California Hydrogen Highway
California Hydrogen Highway
The California Hydrogen Highway is a series of hydrogen refueling stations in California. These stations are used to refuel hydrogen vehicles such as fuel cell vehicles and hydrogen combustion vehicles....

 is an initiative to build a series of hydrogen refueling stations
Hydrogen station
A hydrogen station is a storage or filling station for hydrogen, usually located along a road or hydrogen highway, or at home as part of the distributed generation resources concept. The stations are usually intended to power vehicles, but can also be used to power small devices. Vehicles use...

 along that state. These stations are used to refuel hydrogen vehicles such as fuel cell vehicles and hydrogen combustion vehicles. As of March 2011, the California Fuel Cell Partnership showed 20 stations in operation, with eight more planned. These are located mostly in and around Los Angeles, with a few in the Bay area South Carolina
South Carolina
South Carolina is a state in the Deep South of the United States that borders Georgia to the south, North Carolina to the north, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. Originally part of the Province of Carolina, the Province of South Carolina was one of the 13 colonies that declared independence...

 also has a hydrogen freeway project, and the first two hydrogen fueling stations opened in 2009 in Aiken and Columbia, South Carolina. According to the South Carolina Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Alliance
South Carolina Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Alliance
The South Carolina Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Alliance is a Public-private collaborative with a mission of advancing the commercialization of hydrogen fuel cell technologies in the state of South Carolina. Government entities, in particular, the Department of Energy has funded SCHFCA with $188,788 for...

, the Columbia station has a current capacity of 120 kg a day, with future plans to develop on-site hydrogen production from electrolysis and reformation. The Aiken station has a current capacity of 80 kg. There are several funding projects for Hydrogen fuel cell research and infrastructure in South Carolina. The University of South Carolina
University of South Carolina
The University of South Carolina is a public, co-educational research university located in Columbia, South Carolina, United States, with 7 surrounding satellite campuses. Its historic campus covers over in downtown Columbia not far from the South Carolina State House...

, a founding member of the South Carolina Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Alliance
South Carolina Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Alliance
The South Carolina Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Alliance is a Public-private collaborative with a mission of advancing the commercialization of hydrogen fuel cell technologies in the state of South Carolina. Government entities, in particular, the Department of Energy has funded SCHFCA with $188,788 for...

, received 12.5 million dollars from the Department of Energy
United States Department of Energy
The United States Department of Energy is a Cabinet-level department of the United States government concerned with the United States' policies regarding energy and safety in handling nuclear material...

 for its Future Fuels Program.

Codes and standards


Hydrogen codes and standards, as well as codes and technical standards for hydrogen safety
Hydrogen safety
Hydrogen safety covers the safe use and handling of hydrogen. Hydrogen poses unique challenges due to its ease of leaking, low-energy ignition, wide range of combustible fuel-air mixtures, buoyancy, and its ability to embrittle metals that must be accounted for to ensure safe operation...

 and the storage of hydrogen
Hydrogen storage
Hydrogen storage describes the methods for storing H2 for subsequent use. The methods span many approaches, including high pressures, cryogenics, and chemical compounds that reversibly release H2 upon heating...

, have been identified as an institutional barrier to deploying hydrogen technologies
Hydrogen technologies
Hydrogen technologies are technologies that relate to the production and use of hydrogen. Hydrogen technologies are applicable for many uses....

 and developing a hydrogen economy
Hydrogen economy
The hydrogen economy is a proposed system of delivering energy using hydrogen. The term hydrogen economy was coined by John Bockris during a talk he gave in 1970 at General Motors Technical Center....

. To enable the commercialization of hydrogen in consumer products, new codes and standards must be developed and adopted by federal, state and local governments.

Criticism


Critics claim the time frame for overcoming the technical and economic challenges to implementing wide-scale use of hydrogen vehicles is likely to last for at least several decades, and hydrogen vehicles may never become broadly available. They claim that the focus on the use of the hydrogen car is a dangerous detour from more readily available solutions to reducing the use of fossil fuels in vehicles. In May 2008, Wired News
Wired News
Wired News is an online technology news website, formerly known as HotWired, that split off from Wired magazine when the magazine was purchased by Condé Nast Publishing in the 1990s. Wired News was owned by Lycos not long after the split, until Condé Nast purchased Wired News on July 11, 2006...

reported that "experts say it will be 40 years or more before hydrogen has any meaningful impact on gasoline consumption or global warming, and we can't afford to wait that long. In the meantime, fuel cells are diverting resources from more immediate solutions."

K. G. Duleep speculates that "a strong case exists for continuing fuel-efficiency improvements from conventional technology at relatively low cost." Critiques of hydrogen vehicles are presented in the 2006 documentary, Who Killed the Electric Car?
Who Killed the Electric Car?
Who Killed the Electric Car? is a 2006 documentary film that explores the creation, limited commercialization, and subsequent destruction of the battery electric vehicle in the United States, specifically the General Motors EV1 of the mid 1990s...

. According to former U.S. Department of Energy official Joseph Romm, "A hydrogen car is one of the least efficient, most expensive ways to reduce greenhouse gases." Asked when hydrogen cars will be broadly available, Romm replied: "Not in our lifetime, and very possibly never." The Los Angeles Times wrote, in February 2009, "Hydrogen fuel-cell technology won't work in cars. ... Any way you look at it, hydrogen is a lousy way to move cars." A 2007 article in Technology Review
Technology Review
Technology Review is a magazine published by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It was founded in 1899 as "The Technology Review", and was re-launched without the "The" in its name on April 23, 1998 under then publisher R. Bruce Journey...

stated, "In the context of the overall energy economy, a car like the BMW
BMW
Bayerische Motoren Werke AG is a German automobile, motorcycle and engine manufacturing company founded in 1916. It also owns and produces the Mini marque, and is the parent company of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. BMW produces motorcycles under BMW Motorrad and Husqvarna brands...

 Hydrogen 7 would probably produce far more carbon dioxide emissions than gasoline-powered cars available today. And changing this calculation would take multiple breakthroughs – which study after study has predicted will take decades, if they arrive at all. In fact, the Hydrogen 7 and its hydrogen-fuel-cell cousins are, in many ways, simply flashy distractions produced by automakers who should be taking stronger immediate action to reduce the greenhouse-gas emissions of their cars."

The Wall Street Journal
The Wall Street Journal
The Wall Street Journal is an American English-language international daily newspaper. It is published in New York City by Dow Jones & Company, a division of News Corporation, along with the Asian and European editions of the Journal....

reported in 2008 that "Top executives from General Motors Corp. and Toyota Motor Corp. Tuesday expressed doubts about the viability of hydrogen fuel cells for mass-market production in the near term and suggested their companies are now betting that electric cars will prove to be a better way to reduce fuel consumption and cut tailpipe emissions on a large scale." The Economist
The Economist
The Economist is an English-language weekly news and international affairs publication owned by The Economist Newspaper Ltd. and edited in offices in the City of Westminster, London, England. Continuous publication began under founder James Wilson in September 1843...

magazine, in September 2008, quoted Robert Zubrin
Robert Zubrin
Robert Zubrin is an American aerospace engineer and author, best known for his advocacy of the manned exploration of Mars. He was the driving force behind Mars Direct—a proposal intended to produce significant reductions in the cost and complexity of such a mission...

, the author of Energy Victory
Energy Victory
Energy Victory: Winning the War on Terror by Breaking Free of Oil is a 2007 book by Robert Zubrin. Zubrin's central argument is that the decisive front in the War on Terror is America's struggle for energy independence...

, as saying: "Hydrogen is 'just about the worst possible vehicle fuel'". The magazine noted the withdrawal of California from earlier goals: "In March [2008] the California Air Resources Board
California Air Resources Board
The California Air Resources Board, also known as CARB or ARB, is the "clean air agency" in the government of California. Established in 1967 in the Mulford-Carrell Act, combining the Bureau of Air Sanitation and the Motor Vehicle Pollution Control Board, CARB is a department within the...

, an agency of California's state government and a bellwether for state governments across America, changed its requirement for the number of zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) to be built and sold in California between 2012 and 2014. The revised mandate allows manufacturers to comply with the rules by building more battery-electric cars instead of fuel-cell vehicles." The magazine also noted that most hydrogen is produced through steam reformation, which creates at least as much emission of carbon per mile as some of today's gasoline cars. On the other hand, if the hydrogen could be produced using renewable energy, "it would surely be easier simply to use this energy to charge the batteries of all-electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles."

The Washington Post
The Washington Post
The Washington Post is Washington, D.C.'s largest newspaper and its oldest still-existing paper, founded in 1877. Located in the capital of the United States, The Post has a particular emphasis on national politics. D.C., Maryland, and Virginia editions are printed for daily circulation...

asked in November 2009, "But why would you want to store energy in the form of hydrogen and then use that hydrogen to produce electricity for a motor, when electrical energy is already waiting to be sucked out of sockets all over America and stored in auto batteries"? The paper concluded that commercializing hydrogen cars is "stupendously difficult and probably pointless. That's why, for the foreseeable future, the hydrogen car will remain a tailpipe dream". A December 2009 study at UC Davis
University of California, Davis
The University of California, Davis is a public teaching and research university established in 1905 and located in Davis, California, USA. Spanning over , the campus is the largest within the University of California system and third largest by enrollment...

, published in the Journal of Power Sources, found that, over their lifetimes, hydrogen vehicles will emit more carbon than gasoline vehicles.

In 2009 the U.S. Secretary of Energy, Stephen Chu, stated that fuel cell
Fuel cell
A fuel cell is a device that converts the chemical energy from a fuel into electricity through a chemical reaction with oxygen or another oxidizing agent. Hydrogen is the most common fuel, but hydrocarbons such as natural gas and alcohols like methanol are sometimes used...

 hydrogen vehicles "will not be practical over the next 10 to 20 years". He cited difficulties in the development of the required infrastructure to distribute hydrogen as a justification for cutting research funds. The National Hydrogen Association
National Hydrogen Association
From 1989 to 2010, the National Hydrogen Association was a nonprofit organization focused on advancing the development of hydrogen technologies and their utilization in industrial, commercial, and consumer applications and promote the role of hydrogen in the energy field.The NHA was a member-based...

 and other hydrogen groups criticized the decision. Secretary Chu told MIT's Technology Review
Technology Review
Technology Review is a magazine published by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It was founded in 1899 as "The Technology Review", and was re-launched without the "The" in its name on April 23, 1998 under then publisher R. Bruce Journey...

that he is skeptical about hydrogen's use in transportation because "the way we get hydrogen primarily is from reforming [natural] gas. ... You're giving away some of the energy content of natural gas. ... So that's one problem. ... [For] transportation, we don't have a good storage mechanism yet. ... The fuel cells aren't there yet, and the distribution infrastructure isn't there yet. ... In order to get significant deployment, you need four significant technological breakthroughs. ... If you need four miracles, that's unlikely: saints only need three miracles". Congress reversed the funding cuts in its appropriations bill for 2010, but the Department of Energy plans to decrease funding for Fuel Cell Vehicle development in its 2012 budget.

In July 2011, the Chairman and CEO of General Motors
General Motors
General Motors Company , commonly known as GM, formerly incorporated as General Motors Corporation, is an American multinational automotive corporation headquartered in Detroit, Michigan and the world's second-largest automaker in 2010...

, Daniel Akerson
Daniel Akerson
Daniel Francis "Dan" Akerson, is the current Chairman and CEO of General Motors. Akerson succeeded Edward Whitacre as CEO on September 1, 2010, and became Chairman of the Board on January 1, 2011. Akerson was a Managing Director of The Carlyle Group and head of global buyout prior to joining...

, stated that while the cost of hydrogen fuel cell cars is decreasing: "The car is still too expensive and probably won't be practical until the 2020-plus period, I don't know."

Comparison with other types of alternative fuel vehicle


Hydrogen vehicles are one of a number of proposed alternatives to the modern fossil fuel
Fossil fuel
Fossil fuels are fuels formed by natural processes such as anaerobic decomposition of buried dead organisms. The age of the organisms and their resulting fossil fuels is typically millions of years, and sometimes exceeds 650 million years...

 powered vehicle infrastructure.

Plug-in hybrids


Plug-in hybrid electric vehicle
Plug-in hybrid electric vehicle
A plug-in hybrid electric vehicle , plug-in hybrid vehicle , or plug-in hybrid is a hybrid vehicle which utilizes rechargeable batteries, or another energy storage device, that can be restored to full charge by connecting a plug to an external electric power source...

s, or PHEVs, are hybrid vehicle
Hybrid vehicle
A hybrid vehicle is a vehicle that uses two or more distinct power sources to move the vehicle. The term most commonly refers to hybrid electric vehicles , which combine an internal combustion engine and one or more electric motors.-Power:...

s that can be plugged into the electric grid and contain an electric motor and also an ICE
Internal combustion engine
The internal combustion engine is an engine in which the combustion of a fuel occurs with an oxidizer in a combustion chamber. In an internal combustion engine, the expansion of the high-temperature and high -pressure gases produced by combustion apply direct force to some component of the engine...

 or other engine. The Chevrolet Volt
Chevrolet Volt
The Chevrolet Volt is a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle manufactured by General Motors. The Volt has been on sale in the U.S. market since mid-December 2010, and is the most fuel-efficient compact car sold in the United States, as rated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency...

, the first commercially-manufactured PHEV, became commercially available in some U.S. states in 2010 and in more locations in 2011. The PHEV concept augments standard hybrid electric vehicles with the ability to recharge their batteries from an external source while parked, enabling increased use of the vehicle's electric motors while reducing their reliance on internal combustion engines. The infrastructure required to charge PHEVs is already in place, and transmission of power from grid to car is about 93% efficient. This, however, is not the only energy loss in transferring power from grid to wheels. AC/DC conversion must take place from the grids AC supply to the PHEV's DC. This is roughly 98% efficient. The battery then must be charged. As of 2007, the Lithium iron phosphate battery
Lithium iron phosphate battery
The lithium iron phosphate battery, also called LFP battery, is a type of rechargeable battery, specifically a lithium-ion battery, which uses LiFePO4 as a cathode material.-History:...

 was between 80-90% efficient in charging/discharging. The battery needs to be cooled; the GM Volt's battery has 4 coolers and two radiators. As of 2009, "the total well-to-wheels efficiency with which a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle might utilize renewable electricity is roughly 20% (although that number could rise to 25% or a little higher with the kind of multiple technology breakthroughs required to enable a hydrogen economy). The well-to-wheels efficiency of charging an onboard battery and then discharging it to run an electric motor in a PHEV or EV, however, is 80% (and could be higher in the future)—four times more efficient than current hydrogen fuel cell vehicle pathways." A 2006 article in Scientific American
Scientific American
Scientific American is a popular science magazine. It is notable for its long history of presenting science monthly to an educated but not necessarily scientific public, through its careful attention to the clarity of its text as well as the quality of its specially commissioned color graphics...

argued that PHEVs, rather than hydrogen vehicles, would become standard in the automobile industry. A December 2009 study at UC Davis found that, over their lifetimes, PHEVs will emit less carbon than current vehicles, while hydrogen cars will emit more carbon than gasoline vehicles.

Natural gas


ICE
Internal combustion engine
The internal combustion engine is an engine in which the combustion of a fuel occurs with an oxidizer in a combustion chamber. In an internal combustion engine, the expansion of the high-temperature and high -pressure gases produced by combustion apply direct force to some component of the engine...

-based CNG
Compressed natural gas
Compressed natural gas is a fossil fuel substitute for gasoline , diesel, or propane/LPG. Although its combustion does produce greenhouse gases, it is a more environmentally clean alternative to those fuels, and it is much safer than other fuels in the event of a spill...

 or LNG
Liquefied natural gas
Liquefied natural gas or LNG is natural gas that has been converted temporarily to liquid form for ease of storage or transport....

 vehicles (Natural gas vehicle
Natural gas vehicle
thumb|right|200px|2009 [[Honda Civic GX]] hooked up to Phill refueling system.A natural gas vehicle or NGV is an alternative fuel vehicle that uses compressed natural gas or liquefied natural gas as a clean alternative to other fossil fuels...

s or NGVs) use Natural gas
Natural gas
Natural gas is a naturally occurring gas mixture consisting primarily of methane, typically with 0–20% higher hydrocarbons . It is found associated with other hydrocarbon fuel, in coal beds, as methane clathrates, and is an important fuel source and a major feedstock for fertilizers.Most natural...

 or Biogas
Biogas
Biogas typically refers to a gas produced by the biological breakdown of organic matter in the absence of oxygen. Organic waste such as dead plant and animal material, animal dung, and kitchen waste can be converted into a gaseous fuel called biogas...

 as a fuel source. Natural gas has a higher energy density than hydrogen gas. Natural gas powered vehicles have a lower carbon dioxide footprint than ICE vehicles. When using Biogas, NGVs become carbon neutral
Carbon neutral
Carbon neutrality, or having a net zero carbon footprint, refers to achieving net zero carbon emissions by balancing a measured amount of carbon released with an equivalent amount sequestered or offset, or buying enough carbon credits to make up the difference...

 vehicles that run on animal waste. CNG vehicles have been available for several years, and there is sufficient infrastructure to provide both commercial and home refueling stations. In 2008, the ACEEE rated the Honda Civic GX
Honda Civic GX
The Honda Civic GX is a passenger car factory-built to run on compressed natural gas . The GX is based on the Honda Civic and is available for fleet sales in all 50 states in the US...

, which uses compressed natural gas, as the greenest vehicle available.

Battery electric vehicles


A 2008 Technology Review article stated, "Electric cars—and plug-in hybrid cars—have an enormous advantage over hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles in utilizing low-carbon electricity. That is because of the inherent inefficiency of the entire hydrogen fueling process, from generating the hydrogen with that electricity to transporting this diffuse gas long distances, getting the hydrogen in the car, and then running it through a fuel cell—all for the purpose of converting the hydrogen back into electricity to drive the same exact electric motor you'll find in an electric car." Thermodynamically, each additional step in the conversion process decreases the overall efficiency of the process. Many BEV designs offer limited driving range. For example, The Nissan Leaf
Nissan Leaf
Nissan introduced its first battery electric vehicle, the Nissan Altra at the Los Angeles International Auto Show on 29 December 1997. The Altra EV was produced between 1998 and 2002, only about 200 vehicles were ever produced, and it was mainly used as a fleet vehicle for companies such as...

, the first commercially-manufactured BEV, which became available in in some U.S. states beginning in 2010, has a maximum range of 100 miles. Mini E
Mini E
The Mini E is a demonstration electric car developed by BMW as a conversion of its Mini Cooper car. The MINI E was developed for field trials and deployed in several countries, including the United States, Germany, UK, France, Japan and China...

 users have reported a range of between 100–120 mi (160.9–193.1 ). However, most commutes are 30–40 mi (48.3–64.4 ) miles per day round trip. Ed Begley, Jr.
Ed Begley, Jr.
Edward James "Ed" Begley, Jr. is an American actor and environmentalist. Begley has appeared in hundreds of films, television shows, and stage performances. He is best known for his role as Dr. Victor Ehrlich, on the television series St...

, an electric car advocate, noted wryly, "The detractors of electric vehicles are right. Given their limited range, they can only meet the needs of 90 percent of the population." In addition, new Nickel-metal hydride and lithium batteries are non-toxic and can be recycled, and "the supposed 'lithium shortage' doesn’t exist".

See also



  • Alternative fuel car
  • Bivalent engine
    Bivalent (engine)
    A bivalent engine is one that can use two fuel types. Examples are petroleum/CNG or petroleum/LPG which are widely offered in the European passenger vehicle aftermarket...

  • Electric vehicle
    Electric vehicle
    An electric vehicle , also referred to as an electric drive vehicle, uses one or more electric motors or traction motors for propulsion...

  • Future of the car
    Future of the car
    Potential future car technologies include varied energy sources and materials, which are being developed in order to make automobiles more more energy efficient with and reduced regulated emissions...


  • Hell and High Water
    Hell and High Water (book)
    Hell and High Water: Global Warming — the Solution and the Politics — and What We Should Do is a book by author, scientist, and former U.S. Department of Energy official Joseph J. Romm, published December 26, 2006...

  • The Hype about Hydrogen
    The Hype about Hydrogen
    The Hype about Hydrogen: Fact and Fiction in the Race to Save the Climate is a book by Joseph J. Romm, published in 2004 by Island Press and updated in 2005. The book has been translated into German as Der Wasserstoff-Boom...

  • Tribrid vehicle
  • World Green Car


External links