What are hydrogen fuel cells?

Fuel cell vehicles are powered by fuel cells that generate energy from hydrogen. These vehicles have the potential to be an extremely efficient and environmentally-sound alternative to traditional vehicles. In general, fuel cells are similar to batteries; however, they do not need recharging and will continue to produce energy as long as it is being supplied. Vehicles such as the Toyota Mirai and the Honda Clarity are some of the first hydrogen fuel cell vehicles on the mainstream market. 

What are the benefits of hydrogen fuel cells?

Earth Week, Hydrogen Car

If it is produced through an emission-free process, hydrogen has the potential to be a truly emission-free fuel. Pure hydrogen is extremely rare in the earth’s surface and thus it must be produced by being separated from other compounds, such as water. 

Barriers to Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles

There are many current barriers to producing hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles. First, hydrogen and fuel cell vehicles are expensive to produce. Plus, because hydrogen carries much less energy than gasoline or diesel, it is difficult to make the vehicles travel as far or as fast as gasoline vehicles. As a result of these difficulties, the availability of these cars is limited and the ones that have been developed are too expensive for the average consumer.

For more information about hydrogen and fuel cell vehicles, please visit: afdc.energy.gov/fuels/hydrogen.html