Hydrogen Cars

Hydrogen is too often hailed as the solution for all our energy problems and while it is an interesting technology, it also has its limitations. I found the video from Real Engineering an excellent explainer why for example in cars, a pure battery EV is the ‘better’ solution over a Hydrogen FCHEV.

Hydrogen being ‘just a carrier’ of energy, it first has to be made using another source of energy. I think the sensible use cases for hydrogen are:

  1. In case you are sitting on top of a process which has hydrogen as a waste output, by all means utilise that. Convert it to electricity in a fuel cell, or burn it for heat.
  2. In the case where you are in need of a lot of heat, hydrogen can make more sense than trying to apply heat using an electrical source. Steel mills for example, or large scale ovens. You’d be able to make the hydrogen, have a far from perfect efficiency from doing so, but have access to a heat source that is free from CO2 emissions. Assuming you’re using electrolysis to create hydrogen and solar/wind power.
  3. Rockets. I see progress being made with battery powered flight and that just might evolve in big commercial airliners using battery power to fly us around. For a conventional rocket to have thrust, it has to push something out. Using hydrogen for this can make sense. Until we have developed something in the area of ion-drives, or Star Trek inspired impulse/warp capabilities. Let me know if you are working on that.