Hydrogen has long been touted as the future for passenger cars. The hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV), which simply runs on pressurised hydrogen from a fuelling station, produces zero carbon emissions from its exhaust. It can be filled as quickly as a fossil-fuel equivalent and offers a similar driving distance to petrol. It has some heavyweight backing, with Toyota for instance launching the second-generation Mirai later in 2020. The Canadian Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association recently produced a report extolling hydrogen vehicles. Among other points, it said that the carbon footprint is an order of magnitude better than electric vehicles: 2.7g of carbon dioxide per kilometre compared to 20.9g. All the same, I think hydrogen fuel cells are a flawed concept. I do think hydrogen will play a significant role in achieving net zero carbon emissions by replacing natural gas in industrial and domestic heating. But I struggle to see how hydrogen can compete with electric vehicles, and this view has been reinforced by two recent pronouncements.
The Conversation 3rd June 2020 read more »