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Hydrogen

Fuel Cell Vehicle w/ Hood Open

Hydrogen (H2) is being explored as a fuel for passenger vehicles. It can be used in fuel cells to power electric motors or burned in internal combustion engines (ICEs).

It is an environmentally friendly fuel that has the potential to dramatically reduce our dependence on imported oil, but several significant challenges must be overcome before it can be widely used.

Benefits

Produced Domestically. Hydrogen can be produced domestically from several sources, reducing our dependence on petroleum imports.

Environmentally Friendly. Hydrogen produces no air pollutants or greenhouse gases when used in fuel cells; it produces only nitrogen oxides (NOx) when burned in ICEs.

Challenges

Availability. Hydrogen is only available at a handful of locations, mostly in California, though more hydrogen fuelling stations are planned for the future.

Vehicle Cost & Availability. Fuel cell vehicles (FCVs), which run on hydrogen, are currently more expensive than conventional vehicles, and they are not yet available for sale to the general public. However, costs have decreased significantly, and commercially available FCVs are expected within the next few years.

Onboard Fuel Storage. Hydrogen contains much less energy than gasoline or diesel on a per-volume basis, making it difficult to store enough hydrogen onboard an FCV to go as far as a comparable gasoline vehicle between fillups. Some FCVs have recently demonstrated ranges comparable to conventional vehicles—about 300 to 400 miles between fillups—but this must be achievable across different vehicle makes and models and without compromising customer expectations of space, performance, safety, or cost.

Other challenges related to FCVs must also be overcome.

Additional Information

Alternative Fuels Data Center

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