Why Hydrogen Fuel Probably Isn’t the Future
To replace gasoline, certain auto manufacturers are turning to alternative fuels to run vehicles. Places like California are testing hydrogen as a “future fuel.” Some concept cars utilize a fuel cell to turn hydrogen into electricity. Since hydrogen does not pollute the atmosphere, it seems to be an ideal way to get cars moving. However, there are many reasons why hydrogen may not be the fuel of the future.
To begin, hydrogen is not an energy resource. It is a natural element, but it does not exist in quantities that make it a viable source of energy. To obtain the necessary quantities of hydrogen, it must be taken from natural gas, biomass or water. As hydrogen is extracted, a great energy loss occurs. It is best to use these fuels in their original form.
Hydrogen gas works better as a battery that stores energy. However, it has a very low energy-to-volume relationship. This is also true of traditional fossil fuels that are used today, but this energy has been built over millenniums of time. Fossil fuels can also be extracted in a compact form.
The U.S. Navy has taken the time to research drones that are powered by hydrogen. However, it is likely that the hydrogen was being tested for its lightweight properties. It seems as if the one way that hydrogen can be used in a useful fashion is through developing a method to take it from a source of renewable energy and store it in a compact form. This is not a very practical way to power cars.
Many other questions arise regarding hydrogen-powered cars as well. For example, many people wonder where the hydrogen will come from, how costly hydrogen-powered cars will be, and if fueling stations will be readily available. Also, scientists are trying to research whether or not hydrogen is as friendly to the environment as everyone thinks. Until these questions have been answered, it is unlikely that hydrogen will become a fuel for future vehicles.