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Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles run on electricity generated through combining hydrogen with oxygen. The fuel cells use hydrogen taken from petrol, methanol or natural gas as a fuel, and the oxygen comes from the air. Coated electrodes convert the hydrogen and oxygen to water and this reaction releases energy as electricity to power the motor.

Fuel cell buses and golf carts are now in production. Both Honda and Daimler Benz have produced a noiseless, emission free vehicle powered by fuel cells. General Motors and Toyota are collaborating on the production of fuel cell vehicles. Ford, Daimler, Chrysler, three oil companies and the state of California, are cooperating to test fuel cell buses. Hydrogen fuel cell buses are also being trialled in London and other European cities, Perth, Western Australia, and Beijing, China.

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles produce no noise, are toxic emission free, the waste product is water (which is safe to drink) and they have a greater efficiency than petrol driven cars. They do not need recharging and have a good range and performance. Unfortunately, Fuel Cell Vehicles are still expensive to produce. One day, however, they could revolutionise road transport with their potential to reduce energy use, harmful emissions and reliance on fossil fuels.

Advantages of Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles

  • They use no petrol, so no harmful emissions are released into the atmosphere
  • They are quieter than internal combustion engines, although wind and road noise will still be present at higher speeds

Disadvantages of Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles

  • Hydrogen Fuel Cell technology is currently in the development stage and it may not be commercially available till 2015 or later
  • The hydrogen must be obtained from petrol, methanol, natural gas, or some other source

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