Five misunderstandings about fuel cells

Date:May 14, 2019

As one of the electric vehicles, the fuel cell vehicle (FCV) is the ultimate environmentally friendly vehicle in the field of clean energy. Major automakers such as Toyota, Hyundai and Honda have launched fuel cell models and are listed in the US.

Recently, the US Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) introduced two FCVs, mainly for vehicle promotion. However, in addition to the good feelings of some people in the exhibition process, most people still have some misunderstandings about fuel cells and FCV. To sum up, it is mainly the following five aspects:

Misunderstanding 1: FCV hydrogenation process is more difficult than diesel engine refueling process

This is a misunderstanding. In fact, the FCV hydrogen filling is as convenient as the current mainstream diesel locomotive fueling. Usually, a FCV hydrogenation time is about 3 to 5 minutes.

Myth 2: FCV will emit more water vapor than diesel locomotives

This is not the case. The FCV produces water close to the diesel locomotive. The water in the exhaust gas is usually discharged in the form of steam. Tests have shown that the same FCV driving to New York, the FCV displacement is about 9 gallons, and the diesel locomotive drains about 7 gallons, so the FCV is no more than the diesel locomotive drain.

Misunderstanding 3: Hydrogen production is difficult and costly

At present, hydrogen has become a standard commercial chemical. As far as the United States is concerned, it produces about 10 million tons of hydrogen per year. Most of the hydrogen is derived from natural gas. The cost is equivalent to the price of gasoline equivalent to 4 US dollars per gallon, and the cost is not particularly high. As the scale of hydrogen production expands, costs can be lowered again.

Myth 4: Fuel cell manufacturing costs are high, it is difficult to become the mainstream of the energy industry

With the increasing commercialization and scale of fuel cells, fuel cell manufacturing costs are expected to drop significantly. The data shows that from 2007 to the present, fuel cell durability has increased fourfold, while cost has been reduced by 50%. Fuel cells are widely used in many fields such as automobiles and fixed power supplies. In California, consumers can choose to buy or lease FCV; FedEx, Sysco, Wal-Mart, Coca-Cola and other companies have introduced fuel cell forklifts. The fuel cell system has also been used as an emergency backup power source for communication towers by Sprint Corporation and AT&T. With multiple fields of use, fuel cells are expected to become mainstream in the future.

Myth 5: The process of hydrogen is not safe

To clarify, hydrogen is as safe as current mainstream vehicle fuels (gasoline, diesel and natural gas). In the development stage, the vehicle high-pressure hydrogen storage tanks must undergo strict tests such as collision, high pressure and gun test to ensure the safety under the working conditions of the vehicle. The hydrogen tank is made of high-strength composite material and has sufficient strength. In addition, the hydrogen refueling station has multiple safety protection systems with virtually no safety hazards.

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