Hydrogen cell technology (Fuel Cell Technology)
Part of: GS Prelims and GS Mains III – Science & Technology
- Ahead of next July’s Tokyo Olympics, Japan is gearing up to put on its roads thousands of vehicles based on a hydrogen cell technology, also known as ‘fuel cells’.
- At the heart of the fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) is a device that uses a source of fuel, such as hydrogen, and an oxidant to create electricity by an electrochemical process.
- Like conventional batteries under the bonnets of automobiles, hydrogen fuel cells too convert chemical energy into electrical energy.
- From a long-term viability perspective, FCEVs are billed as vehicles of the future, given that hydrogen is the most abundant resource in the universe.
- Fuel cells generate electricity through an electrochemical process, it does not store energy
- Relies on a constant supply of fuel and oxygen — in the same way that an internal combustion engine relies on a constant supply of petrol or diesel, and oxygen
- Unlike battery-powered electric vehicles, fuel cell vehicles do not need to be plugged in, and most models exceed 300 km of range on a full tank. They are filled up with a nozzle, just like in a petrol or diesel station
Criticism of Hydrogen Cell Technology:
- The process of making hydrogen needs energy — often from fossil fuel sources. That has raised questions over hydrogen’s green credentials.
- Safety — hydrogen is more explosive than petrol.