What are some of the advantages of hydrogen use?
Researchers are working to develop a wide range of technologies to produce hydrogen in both economically and environmentally friendly ways so that we will not need to depend on any single energy resource. This potential for diversity of energy supply is an important reason why hydrogen is a promising energy carrier.
Hydrogen-powered fuel cells are pollution-free, and can also achieve two to three times the efficiency of traditional internal combustion technologies. This corresponds to more than a 50% reduction in fuel consumption, compared to a conventional vehicle with a gasoline internal combustion engine.6 In addition, fuel cells operate quietly, have fewer moving parts, and are well suited to a variety of applications.
One obvious advantage of hydrogen energy is that it is a constant and reliable energy source, as compared to other alternative energies such as wind and solar power, which are troubled by large fluctuations in delivery due to changing weather. Hydrogen is widely available, in natural gas and water, for instance. When used as a vehicle fuel, the only tailpipe emission is water. Pound for pound, hydrogen fuel has more inherent energy than gasoline, which makes it a more efficient fuel.
If mass-produced and widely distributed like gasoline, the cost of hydrogen fuel could be equivalent to $2 per gallon or less. Plus, fuel cells are about three times as efficient as gas engines, which means better mileage.
A fuel cell system running on hydrogen can be compact and lightweight, and have no major moving parts. Because fuel cells have no moving parts and do not involve combustion, in ideal conditions they can achieve up to 99.9999% reliability.