There’s no shortage of energy in creating new, innovative solutions for “green” vehicles. Electric vehicles (EVs) have become almost mainstream and economical natural gas continues to power many transportation fleets. Yet if we look around the corner, hydrogen-powered vehicles are positioning to stake a solid claim in the green energy market soon.
How does Hydrogen Fuel Work?
Hydrogen-powered vehicles, or ‘Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs)’, are similar to EVs because they have electric motors. The difference is that rather than requiring an external source to recharge the battery, FCEVs produce their own electricity internally using a fuel cell-powered by hydrogen. These vehicles produce zero harmful emissions into our atmosphere.
Hydrogen fuel is pumped into the vehicle from a refueling station providing the product, much as you fill a tank with conventional gasoline. In fact, refueling times are fairly similar to that of a traditional “fill-up.” For drivers, this represents a much faster fill up time (5-10 minutes) as compared to the time required for most EVs (several hours to overnight). The maximum mileage of the vehicle is largely dependent on the size of the vehicle’s fuel tank.
The amount of power generated by a kilogram of hydrogen is close to the amount of energy created from a gallon of gasoline. FCEVs, however, use that power much more efficiently which means the car can travel approximately 3 times as far on a kilogram of hydrogen fuel. For example, the 2021 Toyota Mirai XLE achieves an estimated 76 highway/71 in-town miles per gallon (402 total miles) and their “Limited” model enjoys 67 freeway / 64 in town mpg (total range: 357 miles).
Where can you refuel a hydrogen-powered vehicle?
Right now the choices are somewhat limited with the majority of refueling stations being built or converted in California. However, with auto manufacturers and the trucking industry introducing more FCEVs onto our roads the demand for hydrogen fuel is increasing and will drive station owners to provide this new fuel for their customers. Currently, most stations purchase fuel from off-site production facilities but new technology allows stations to produce hydrogen fuel onsite with a small footprint and access to the water supply, electricity, and natural gas.
Want to stay on top of new, clean energy solutions?
The Rogue Valley Clean Cities Coalition’s mission is enhancing the livability of the Rogue Valley. We promote and educate on alternate fuels, seek to decrease dependency on petroleum, and promote clean air and water in the Rogue Valley via alternate fuels. Contact us today for more information!