When most of us consider ways to reduce carbon emissions in the transportation sector, we immediately think of electric cars or vehicles in general, and in that case, we are right to a greater extent.
After understanding the advantages and witnessing the growth tesla had, throughout the following decade, global automakers have been lining up with bold new promises to fully electrify their line range of cars.
As we have quoted several times electric cars are great but battery-operated electric cars have a few disadvantages as well. One among them is the long charging time. FCEVs has the potential to eliminate this drawback and make EVs the whole package!!!
What exactly is an FCEV?
Fuel cells, like stem cells in medical science, are a new technology in the automobile industry. It operates in the same way as the electrolysis process. An electric current is sent through a substance, and the substance loses or gains an electron. To put it another way, instead of splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen with electricity, these two components are joined to make water and electricity The electricity is then utilized to power the car’s drive train, leaving just water as a waste product.
The oxygen comes from the air, while the hydrogen comes from a tank. The catch here is, that being able to produce enough clean hydrogen (hydrogen is highly reactive and is not available in pure form in the natural state) to be used as a fuel in a sustainable manner is not impossible but hard and expensive.
Why Fuel cells are Preferred?
1. Unlike battery-powered electric vehicles, FCEVs can go over 500 kilometers on a full tank of hydrogen and can be refueled in 2-3 minutes, exactly like regular petrol/diesel cars.
2. Unlike Lithium, hydrogen is the most plentiful element in the universe ( Lithium is the key component in electric vehicle batteries).
3. There are still outstanding concerns about how and where to dispose of end-of-life batteries.
So what is green hydrogen?
Green Hydrogen & Its Production
Hydrogen production as mentioned above is based on electrolysis, a chemical process that produces hydrogen which is a universal, light, and highly reactive fuel. The hydrogen and oxygen in water are separated using an electrical current in this process. We will create energy without spewing carbon dioxide into the environment if this power is supplied from renewable sources.
According to the IEA, this way of creating green hydrogen would avoid the 830 million tonnes of CO2 released annually when the hydrogen is produced using fossil fuels. Similarly, replacing all grey hydrogen in the globe would necessitate 3,000 TWh/year from new renewables, which is equal to Europe’s current consumption.
However, due to its high production cost, there are some concerns regarding green hydrogen’s feasibility; realistic doubts that will dissipate as the earth’s decarbonisation continues and, as a result, the creation of renewable energy becomes less expensive.
Hydrogen as Clean Energy
The most prevalent chemical element in nature is hydrogen. According to the International Energy Agency, global demand for hydrogen as a fuel has quadrupled since 1975, reaching 70 million tonnes per year in 2018. Furthermore, unlike coal and oil, it is a clean energy source that produces only water vapor and leaves no residue in the air.
Hydrogen has a long history of working with industry. Since the beginning of the nineteenth century, this gas has been utilized to power automobiles, airships, and spacecraft.
Hydrogen will become increasingly prominent as the global economy decarbonizes, a process that cannot be postponed. Furthermore, if production prices fall by 50% by 2030, as forecasted by the World Hydrogen Council, we will surely be dealing with one of the future fuels.
We must be informed of the advantages and disadvantages of this energy source. Let’s take a look at some of its best features:
Advantages of Green Hydrogen
- Green hydrogen is completely sustainable, as it does not release any damaging gases during combustion or manufacture.
- Hydrogen is easily stored, allowing it to be utilized for various purposes and at periods other than just after it is produced.
- Green hydrogen is versatile, since it may be converted into energy or synthetic gas and utilized in a variety of applications including residential, commercial, industrial, and transportation.
- It can be combined with natural gas at up to 20% ratios and transported using the same gas pipes and infrastructure as natural gas; exceeding this percentage would necessitate altering different parts in current gas networks to make them compatible.
As a coin has two sides, Green hydrogen also has two sides…
Disadvantages of Green Hydrogen
- High cost: renewable energy, which is essential for creating green hydrogen via electrolysis, is more expensive to produce, making hydrogen more expensive to purchase.
- High energy consumption: hydrogen generation in general, and green hydrogen production in particular, consumes more energy than conventional fuels.
- Safety concerns: Because hydrogen is a very volatile and combustible gas, it must be handled with extreme caution to avoid leaks and explosions.
The Popular FCEVs
The most well-known FCEVs in the world are the Toyota Mirai, Hyundai Nexo, and Honda Clarity the latter of which has apparently been discontinued but they are not as popular as battery electric cars because right now, hydrogen as a fuel is scarce even in industrialized markets like Japan.
India’s Green Hydrogen Programme
Last month, the Indian government announced the first phase of its Green Hydrogen Policy, which is a step toward the National Hydrogen Mission. The mission’s goal is to turn India into a green hydrogen center that will assist the country reach its climate goals. It aims to produce five million metric tonnes per annum (MMTPA) of green hydrogen by 2030, as well as build renewable energy capacity in the process.
The launch of India’s Green Hydrogen Policy comes after the government vowed to become carbon-neutral by 2070 during the COP-26 meeting in Glasgow last year. The drive for energy security becomes even more important at a time when the current Russia-Ukraine conflict has pushed up energy prices throughout the world, particularly in India, which imports 85% of its oil and 53% of its natural gas.
Also, Nitin Gadkari, India’s Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways launched a pilot project for a hydrogen-based advanced Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV) Toyota Mirai FCEV in New Delhi earlier this month.