Modified: November 12, 2022

How Hydrogen Fuel Cells Will Defeat China’s Control Over Batteries, Prevent Car Fires

Hydrogen Vehicles: How Hydrogen Fuel Cells Will Defeat China’s Control Over Batteries, Prevent Car Fires

A lot of car fires are a result of the cars’ batteries. The sad part is that when one battery causes a fire, the driver still has to purchase another, which only benefits the battery market, which China largely controls. This vicious cycle needs to come to an end!

However, something that is new is hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicles. University of Alberta (U of A) in America is making massive progress regarding the future of transportation when looking at hydrogen-powered vehicles. Hydrogen is being experimented with for the long-haul trucking industry, whereas electric cars are being encouraged for personal use as automobiles.

You know what this means, right? Reduced batteries demand leads to fewer car fires, resulting in safer roads! These are the steps to make American roads safer for its citizens.

Here’s the latest up-to-date information:

Why Transportation Needs to Change

It’s simple to forget how Henry Ford’s “car for the large multitude” transformed the daily lives of common people now that we have the speed and instantaneity of the internet. Our society was altered by accessible, affordable transportation for the general public since it allowed us to expand our horizons. However, due to this widespread adoption, there is now city congestion and pollution because of vehicle emissions, both of which are harmful to the environment, human health, and happiness.

70% of all domestic oil consumption in the US is used for transportation, which is also the country’s second-largest source of greenhouse gas emissions (behind electricity or power generation). Therefore, can we expect to see Bladerunner vehicles powered by electric motors flying through the air soon? Probably not yet, but we will always find it fascinating to imagine futuristic means of transportation.

Why a Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Motor is the Future

Many experts believe that future drivers will use a mixture of hydrogen and other electric vehicles to get around. It’s common to find a vehicle powered by electric power in the US these days; however, technology is still developing for hydrogen cars. Secanell Gallart said that big fleets of automobiles, including buses, taxis, and long-haul trucks, that are on the road constantly in the future are likely to run on hydrogen fuel. The Hydrogen Strategy, published by Ottawa in late 2020, states that although electric vehicles now have a significant advantage over hydrogen, the federal government wants to see more than 5 million fuel-cell stack vehicles on the road by the year 2050.

According to the paper, hydrogen automobiles have been lauded as one of the answers to climate change because of their efficiency and release of no pollutants from the tailpipe. The same cannot be said for battery-operated vehicles that contribute to the emission of greenhouse gases. This report also stated that electric trucks and cars are predicted to account for a sizable market share for light-duty vehicles in America. Still, fuel-cell vehicles will be more suitable for long distances and refuel faster than electric vehicles.

One thing is sure: hydrogen-powered vehicles are the way forward for renewable energy and improved fuel economy in urban areas.

How Do Hydrogen Motor Vehicles Work?

In its highest concentration, hydrogen powers fuel-cell electric vehicles throughout the cosmos. Fuel cell automobiles use energy to operate; however, they do it differently than battery-powered or plug-in hybrid vehicles. Hydrogen reacts electrochemically in a fuel cell to create electricity that powers the car.

How Electric Cars Operate

According to Marc Secanell Gallart, a mechanical engineering professor at U of A, the majority of vehicles currently on the road are driven by internal combustion engines, whereby air and gasoline from the tank combine to create an explosion that propels the vehicle. This dangerous power source often results in car fires caused by the battery.

How Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles Operate

However, with hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles, air from the outside of the car and hydrogen from the tank are separated by a membrane, which leads to a reaction that creates protons and electrons, known as a propulsion system. The protons combine with the oxygen to form water, which exits the exhaust, and the electrons go to an electric motor that drives the car, much like a battery, but safer and more efficient. This can be described as a hybrid between an electric vehicle and an internal combustion engine. Because of how quickly they can refuel, hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles are praised for their potential in long-haul trucking and continuous driving. While electric vehicles’ batteries typically recharge in half an hour, fuel cells can do so in just five minutes.

Why Electric Vehicles Are Not Ideal for Long Distances

To power a vast, long-haul truck, the batteries for electric vehicles (EVs) must be scaled up, which adds weight to the car, according to Secanell Gallart. Furthermore, he states that a hydrogen fuel cell is an excellent alternative for powering massive, long-haul trucks because it is lightweight and doesn’t get significantly heavier to power up larger vehicles.

What About Carbon Emissions and Greenhouse Gases?

Even though both hydrogen and electric cars are touted as being better for the environment, neither type of vehicle produces zero emissions regarding fuel. Although the cars themselves will have low emissions, there will still be emissions from driving if the electricity and hydrogen required to power them come from fossil fuels.

Are Hydrogen-powered Vehicles Accessible?

Highways are now devoid of hydrogen-powered vehicles because of a lack of refueling infrastructure, according to Secanell Gallart. Since Alberta has no hydrogen refueling stations, a driver who bought a hydrogen car would not be able to use it just yet. However, America is trying to make a breakthrough in this globally. Because of government and other incentives for refueling facilities and EVs, more hydrogen-cell vehicles are on the road in other jurisdictions, such as California and British Columbia.

Due to their early adoption and the fact that it is much simpler to recharge them, EVs have an advantage. However, the accidents caused by poorly-manufactured Chinese batteries are decreasing the popularity of these cars. Secanell Gallart expressed his future optimism for a shift in Alberta’s hydrogen vehicle market. An all-electric vehicle is better for shorter trips because it can quickly be recharged through cities. However, because hydrogen motor vehicles can be refueled much more rapidly, Secanell Gallart predicted that they would be employed for longer journeys, such as trucking or extended weekend trips to the mountains. Further developments also need to be made to decrease the purchase price of these vehicles, making them more accessible to the everyday citizen, as they currently have a very high cost.

Is Electric Energy Suitable for Transportation?

An electric car is ideal for personal use, while long-haul trucking is being investigated as the hydrogen future. According to Secanell Gallart, there is no competition between the two types of vehicles, but as technology advances, this may change. While the future is uncertain, one thing is for sure: it’s time to kiss battery-powered vehicles goodbye. US professionals and universities are doing all they can to push us into the future to ensure that our roads are safer.

Hydrogen: Fuel for the Future

A potential perfect fuel for the environment is hydrogen. Making hydrogen usable for private and public transportation at scale currently presents hurdles. In the future, hydrogen might be the answer for long-distance travel, including the rail transportation of people and cargo. Large-scale charging terminals for HGVs, public fleets, and buses might be present in the future. This would help minimize disruption.

Summary

Fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) use electricity to start an electric motor, like fully electric cars do. Unlike other electric vehicles, FCEVs produce electricity through a fuel cell fuelled by hydrogen rather than relying solely on a battery. The size of the electric motor(s) that get electrical energy from the suitably sized battery and fuel cell combination defines the automobile’s power during the vehicle design phase.

Although car manufacturers could design an FCEV with plug-in functionality to charge the battery, most FCEVs today use the battery for energy recovery from regenerative braking. Additional power comes during brief acceleration occurrences and to smooth out the energy provided by the fuel cell with the choice of turning off the fuel cell during low power needs.

The size of the hydrogen fuel tank affects how much energy can be stored on board. On the other hand, all-electric vehicles have a close relationship between the amount of energy and power available and the battery’s size.

The critical components of a hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle include:

  • Battery (auxiliary)
  • Power electronics controller
  • Battery pack
  • Fuel cell stack
  • Fuel tank (hydrogen)
  • Fuel filler
  • Transmission
  • Thermal system.

Been in a Car Accident Because of a Car Fire? Ehline Law Firm Can Help You!

Ehline Law Firm has represented many EV owners in car accident cases that resulted from car fires. While many believed introducing electric motor vehicles solved these problems, these batteries have resulted in tragedies and China gaining more control over the battery industry.

Fortunately, due to the work of numerous American universities and professors, developments are being made in terms of hydrogen-powered vehicles. While we wait for this development in technology, if you’ve been in an EV accident, contact our knowledgeable attorneys today at (833) LETS-SUE!

Citations:

Top Notch American Injury Lawyer, Michael Ehline

Michael Ehline

Michael is a managing partner at the nationwide Ehline Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, APLC. He’s an inactive Marine and became a lawyer in the California State Bar Law Office Study Program, later receiving his J.D. from UWLA School of Law. Michael has won some of the world’s largest motorcycle accident settlements.

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