Some consumers are questioning the value of H2 vehicles when EVs plug in and charge directly.
Comparing hydrogen and battery electric vehicles, many may wonder why choose the H2 option when fuel cell vehicles suffer energy losses.
All vehicles, whether internal combustion engines, electric vehicles or H2 drives, have energy losses.
Energy is lost when driving any type of vehicle. Since electric vehicles use electricity directly from the grid, it is easy to assume that they are not included in this group. However, electric vehicle drive systems still experience 15-20% energy losses.
In comparison, gasoline-powered internal combustion engines experience a much higher energy loss of 64% to 75%, according to US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) data. According to the California Hydrogen Business Council, fuel cell vehicles experience 40% to 60% of his energy loss, but their technology is evolving rapidly and efficiency levels are improving.
Energy losses in hydrogen vehicles are partially offset by their ability to store energy using renewable electricity.
Energy loss is arguably the most important, but even vehicles with zero-emission driving, such as hydrogen cars and EVs, can be really eco-friendly and reduce carbon emissions to combat climate change.
For example, in determining whether a battery electric vehicle or a hydrogen vehicle is better for the environment, it is important to consider how the electricity or hydrogen fuel is produced. After all, both can be produced by burning coal or natural gas to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In such cases, the electricity or hydrogen will have an impact on emissions levels even though they are not generated in their end use to power the vehicle.
Electric vehicles can only be considered truly CO2-free if they are powered by electricity generated by renewable sources such as solar or wind. Similarly, only green H2, produced using electrolysers powered by renewable energies such as solar or wind, means that driving a hydrogen car is truly clean.
When using renewable energy, storing energy as H2 helps ensure a steady supply of fuel. In the event of energy loss, it will utilize the renewable power generated, but it will not be used immediately or it will be completely lost.
HYDROGEN POLL: Cost and infrastructure aside, are you ready to use hydrogen as a fuel source for home heating?