With accelerated industrial development and population expansion, we are now facing the problems of unsustainable fossil fuel supply and environmental degradation. Motor vehicles are the major fossil fuel consumers and they contribute significantly to greenhouse gas, toxic gas and particulate emissions. Thus, alternative fuels for motor vehicles have been widely investigated for alleviating these problems. Hydrogen being clean and renewable, has strong potential to be a future fuel for motor vehicles.
Hydrogen is an energy carrier that can be used in internal combustion engines or fuel cells producing virtually no greenhouse gas emissions when combusted with oxygen. The only significant emission is water vapour. Hydrogen is the most abundant element on earth. Although hydrogen does not exist freely in nature, it can be produced from a variety of sources such as steam reformation of natural gas, gasification of coal, and electrolysis of water.
Hydrogen Usage in Vehicles
- Hydrogen IC engine (Port or direct injection)
- Electric hybrid with Hydrogen IC engine
- Hydrogen fuelled Fuel Cell Vehicles
- Dual-fuel diesel engine (Port or direct injection of Hydrogen)
- HCNG or Hythane (mixture of hydrogen and CNG)
There are some issues of using hydrogen as a IC engine fuel such as Safety of hydrogen powered vehicle is critical due to high flammability of the hydrogen & economic production of Hydrogen is also a challenge. Another concern of using hydrogen as a fuel is lack of distribution infrastructure & absence of standards for Certification of Vehicles. So, if these problems can be solved then hydrogen is the fuel of the future.