How Do Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles Work


Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles

Introduction:

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Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEV) are not like traditional electric vehicles. They use hydrogen fuel cells to generate electricity, which is then used to power an electric motor that turns the wheels. The only byproduct of this process is water vapor, so they don’t emit any harmful emissions.

Fuel Cells work through a chemical reaction between oxygen and hydrogen gas in an electrochemical cell; applying a voltage difference across electrodes immersed in electrolyte produces an electric current for powering motors or other devices. The main advantage of FCEVs over gasoline-powered vehicles is their much higher efficiency; about 60% vs 20%. This means that about 40% more energy can be extracted from each kilogram of fuel than with gasoline engines for the same amount of emitted carbon dioxide. FCEVs also has the potential to be more reliable than gasoline vehicles, as they have fewer moving parts and are less susceptible to wear and tear.

Advantages of FCEVs:

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They are more efficient than gasoline vehicles; about 60% more energy can be extracted from each kilogram of fuel than gasoline engines for the same amount of emitted carbon dioxide.

FCEVs don’t emit harmful emissions (only water vapor).

Reduced oil dependence through hydrogen production using alternative energy sources like solar or wind power, oil sands, or nuclear power; Hydrogen could also be produced by splitting water molecules using electricity generated from renewable resources like solar and wind energy, hydroelectricity, geothermal energy, biomass, etc.

Faster refueling time (less than 5 minutes) vs 10-15 minutes for electric vehicles and 15-20 minutes for conventional vehicles.

Higher combustion power density than batteries, which means that a fuel cell vehicle can travel further on a full tank of hydrogen.

Disadvantages of FCEVs:

A lack of fueling infrastructure makes them impractical at the moment. This would require a huge investment in new manufacturing plants and hydrogen tanks before they could be used by the general public.

Hydrogen is also more difficult to store than gasoline because it has a lower volumetric energy density, about one-third of 33%.

Filling up with Hydrogen hasn’t been as easy as pumping gas; you need special equipment for compression and cooling down the gas to make it liquefied, which takes time (less than 5 minutes) vs 10-15 minutes for electric vehicles and 15-20 minutes for conventional vehicles.

The high cost of fuel cell technology is still a major obstacle to their widespread adoption.

Like electric vehicles, FCEVs suffer from “range anxiety”, the fear that you won’t be able to find a place to refuel your vehicle when it runs out of gas.

Even with these disadvantages, fuel cells provide a promising alternative to gasoline-powered engines and could play a major role in reducing our dependence on oil. With continued investment in research and development, they could become the standard for automotive transportation in the future.

So far, Toyota has been the most successful automaker in terms of marketing and selling FCEVs. In 2015, it released the Mirai, which has an EPA efficiency of 65 MPGe city, 67 MPGe highway, and 65 mpg combined. As of 2017, it has sold over 2,000 Mirai FCEVs in the US. Hyundai is also planning to begin selling its fuel cell cars within two years.

Conclusion:

Fuel cells are the future of automotive transportation. The only byproduct of this process is water vapor, so they don’t emit any harmful emissions. Fuel Cells work through a chemical reaction between oxygen and hydrogen gas in an electrochemical cell; applying a voltage difference across electrodes immersed in electrolyte produces an electric current for powering motors or other devices.

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