We hear a lot about the development of electric cars – and rightly so. But there’s another alternative vehicle technology that’s less talked about. And it’s reliant on the most common chemical element in the universe. Hydrogen.
There are hydrogen cars on UK roads – and whilst you might be hard-pressed to spot one right now, manufacturers (notably Toyota, Honda and Hyundai even Renault with Symbio range extenders) have already produced hydrogen models.
The UK Government is also financing the development of hydrogen-powered vehicles and infrastructure. In March 2017, it announced a £23 million fund to accelerate that development, with transport minister John Hayes saying at the time that “hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles can play a vital role alongside battery electric vehicles to help us cut harmful emissions.”
With that in mind, here’s a little more information about hydrogen vehicles – including how we’re getting involved here at CPSL-Group and how we have developed the world’s only small-scale Hydrogen refuelling system for companies to have their own independent refuelling facility
HOW DO HYDROGEN CARS WORK?
Hydrogen-powered engines go back a lot further than you might think. More than two centuries ago, French inventor Francois Isaac de Rivaz developed a primitive engine that was powered by hydrogen and oxygen and ignited by an electric spark.
These days, it’s all about fuel cells – but the same elements are still very much at the heart of the chemical reaction that takes place in a hydrogen car.
Essentially, there are no moving parts, it’s just the chemical reaction that ‘fuels’ the action. It sees hydrogen enter the fuel cell from a tank and mix with oxygen to create H2O in a chemical reaction, which generates electricity that is used to power the motors that drive the wheels.
Hydrogen tanks are refuelled in a process that’s pretty much the same as with a petrol or diesel car. You just need to lock a pipe to the car and wait. The cost of filling the tank from public access points is also comparable at around £10 per kg, which is equivalent to petrol. CPSL-Group produce a self-container refuelling station that can be located in the company car park and using excess renewable energy and rainwater, it can produce Hydrogen a diesel cost equivalent of just £0.640 per litre.