Hydrogen vehicle is a vehicle that is fueled by hydrogen. Mostly, it is powered by a fuel cell that generates electricity through chemical redox reactions using oxygen from the air and compressed hydrogen. But less commonly, they generate power by burning hydrogen in an internal combustion engine. Hydrogen as a fuel is a good alternative to fossil fuel because when burned, only water and heat is generated.
Hydrogen vehicles include cars, buses, forklifts, and trams. Also, many large rockets use liquid hydrogen as fuel, because it has high effective exhaust velocity and energy density. Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are a good alternative for combustion engines for indoor applications as well as for use in locations with low temperatures. That is because the emission has no effect on the air quality and low-temperature degrees do not affect their performance. This is why forklifts powered by fuel cells are quite often used in refrigerated warehouses.
There were times when hydrogen vehicles appeared to be the next big thing. But the rise of battery-powered electric vehicles quickly changed that. One of the problems is that fueling these vehicles requires an infrastructure of hydrogen fueling stations. In 2020 there were less than 50 retail hydrogen fueling stations in the USA. In addition, hydrogen is mainly produced from fossil fuels—the same fuels that power combustion engines. This means that the environmental problems related to the use of fossil fuels remain even though hydrogen vehicles are considered zero-emissions vehicles. On top of that, the production of fuel cells is rather expensive because of the use of platinum.
As of 2022, there are only two hydrogen cars publicly available: Toyota Mirai and Hyundai Nexo. But other manufacturers such as BMW and Land Rover have confirmed that they are planning to bring new hydrogen-powered models to the market.
- Hydrogen car
- Hydrogen-powered vehicle