Hydrogen cars and EU Directive

A splendid model of Aston Martin powered by hydrogen

The theme of hydrogen car it is only touched upon by the Directive on alternative fuels being approved by the European Parliament which will come into force at the end of the summer. The indications of the legal text regarding the introduction on the market of hydrogen for automotive they are in fact bland and above all optional.

In practice, although the Directive considers thehydrogen one of the three 'tractions' of the future together with electricity and methane or biomethane (we are talking about cars), in the version on which they have reached an agreement, the states have limited themselves to providing that refueling stations must be installed hydrogen by 2025, but without setting the number and only for the States that decide to invest in this fuel. How to say: you do.

Yet the hydrogen car they would be excellent for the environment and beyond. The environmental impact of a fuel cell powered vehicle a hydrogen it is practically nil because the exhaust gases contain only water vapor air. On the other hand, the performance is comparable to that of a traditional vehicle. The autonomy, on the other hand, depends on the technology used for storing thehydrogen (cells or internal combustion).

In fact, one hydrogen car with a fuel cell engine it has the same characteristics as an electric motor because the generation system produces direct current. With the combination of an electric motor and a storage system, which allows the recovery of energy during braking, significant fuel savings can also be achieved by increasing the range.

What are fuel cells? Let's take a step back to say that thehydrogen as fuel (i.e. for transport on hydrogen car) can be used in two ways: within a traditional thermal cycle system or through fuel cells, which in fact function like batteries. The tool on which research is focusing in the application of the hydrogen car is that of the fuel cell.

A fuel cell is nothing more than an electrochemical device capable of directly converting the energy of a fuel (in this case we are talking about hydrogen) into electricity and heat. What fails in one hydrogen car it is represented by thermal cycles, and by the relative limitations imposed on them by the laws of thermodynamics.

Going into even more detail, the type of fuel cell on which the manufacturers of hydrogen cars are focusing is the one defined as polymeric electrolyte. With this technology, running prototypes of both cars (for example by BMW) and hydrogen buses. The main obstacle is represented by costs, which however could go down in large-scale production since fuel cells are quite simple to build.

Video: Energy Storage in Hydrogen: Does this beat batteries? (October 2020).