I think we will go full lelectric before we end up with hydrogen vehicles. It may end up a niche market but I do ont believe it will end up mainstream.
I really don't think so. Even if hydrogen fuel cells could be made with only cheap materials rather than the expensive metals modern fuel cells use certain chemical properties can't be overcome as easily.
Per liter hydrogen doesn't even come close to the same energy density as diesel or gasoline. In order to compensate for this hydrogen needs to be compressed to get more gas in the same amount of volume which makes it potentially more explosive. Hydrogen is also very flammable and one of the most reactive chemical elements posing possible dangers in an accident.
Hydrogen is the smallest atom on the periodic table so it eventually leaks out of most containers given enough time. It also can't be sent through pipelines as easily as liquid fuel.
Hydrogen is more of a way to transfer power rather than being a source of stored energy. To get hydrogen you need to break chemical bonds which requires energy. Even if the energy to break the chemical bonds is harvested from solar power it really makes more sense to use the solar power directly as an energy source.
Hydrogen is closely linked to the harmonization between demand and energy production. If we are to evolve towards renewable energies, we must harmonize production and demand because they are not synchronized. The solar is at maximum around noon while the wind is generally at max at night. On the other hand the max of consumption is from 17h to 22heures. People want to use more energy from renewable sources but do not understand the implications, it is very difficult to store energy for later use.
Why not use surplus electricity to store energy in the form of hydrogen which is one of the most energetic molecules More than 200MJ per kilo, (Lithium batteries less than 1Mj per kilo). The Germans already do it and mix it with natural gas (Power to gas). Do we have it then burns simply to recover energy or is it compressed to use in a fuel cell?
Will the ethanol fuel cell be more interesting? Brazil's experience will provide an answer. Ethanol has the great advantage of being liquid at room temperature, no need for compression and current fuel cells already give 70-80% yields to ethanol. Ethanol can be produced by forest residues, sugar cane, maize, especially profitable in Brazil. In colder countries, should we use hydrogen to make ethanol or use land to produce bio-ethanol? We still have research to do for this purpose.
Oil is a source, or rather a stock of energy in which you only have to pump. It consists of hydrocarbons, ie chains of carbon atoms surrounded by hydrogen atoms. When your engine burns an octane molecule, it combines the 8 carbon atoms with 16 oxygen atoms to make 8 CO2, but the combustion also combines the 18 hydrogen atoms with 9 oxygen atoms to make 9 H20 (The white smoke coming out of the exhaust pipes is water!)
I can not find the numbers anymore, but from memory the combustion of hydrogen produces more energy than that of carbon. So your car is already running (at around 50%) with hydrogen!
To make it run at 100% hydrogen, the problem is that hydrogen is not in isolated form. Hydrogen of H20 is already burned. Water is hydrogen ash. For "de-burning", chemistry is called "reduce", electrolysis must provide exactly the energy that will be provided by the hydrogen while re-burning. (note: a fuel cell produces electricity, but with exactly the same chemical reaction as combustion)
Or we could extract hydrocarbons ... that's exactly how 95% of the hydrogen is currently produced by reforming methane, other hydrocarbons and coal. With this process, the CO2 is produced at the factory (where we could capture it and store it, but we prefer to sell it too ...) so we sell you green and clean hydrogen because the corresponding CO2 was produced at factory …
Hydrogen is not a source of energy but a "carrier" for transporting energy from the production plant to your car. The problem is that it is difficult to store, dangerous, and contains less energy per liter than a liquid hydrocarbon. But it contains a lot more per kg, which makes it interesting for rockets, and planes maybe someday, but not really for cars.
It may happen fairly soon as a hydrogen cell vehicle is till regarded as an electric car.
Europe has a ban on vehicle fossil fuel engines coming into effect after 2030. Car manufacturers are looking at every possibility to transform motor travel a we know it. The beauty about the hydrogen cars is that there are no restrictions like recharging. The battery cars will have to recharge so it has many pluses going for it.
The benefits are great as the emissions from a hydrogen car is water.I can see these engines coming in over the next 15 years.