Fuel Cell Advantages and Disadvantages

Inside This Section:
Fuel Cell Cars Tech
Fuel Cell Advantages and Disadvantages
Future Fuel Cell Cars

Advantages

A fuel cell is leagues and leagues less complicated than a conventional gas or diesel engine.

It Is not subject to high temperatures, corrosion or any of the structural weaknesses found in other engines.

It will, in theory, continue to operate indefinitely, without complication, as long as it has a fuel source.

It runs quietly, and its sole tailpipe emission is water vapor.

Disadvantages

Conceptually, replacing the current oil-based infrastructure with hydrogen would cost billions, maybe trillions, of dollars.

Although abundant in the universe, hydrogen is fairly rare in our atmosphere, meaning that it has to be extracted (for example through electrolysis, as explained above) and currently, the process is cost prohibitive and inefficient.

Its production at energy plants creates excessive carbon dioxide.

When it burns, a hydrogen flame is virtually invisible; coupled with the gas’s propensity for escaping, in small amounts, almost any tank, there are concerns about explosions. On the plus side, hydrogen is so light it typically is dispersed in the air very quickly.

On-board storage is a major issue; a hydrogen tank would currently be too large for a car.

It is a very flammable gas (think of the Hindenburg), which further adds to the on-board storage problems.

next page
previous page

Related Articles

This site follows the emergence, application and development of transportation innovation. Reference to manufacturers, makes and models, and other automotive-related businesses are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute an endorsement by FutureCars.com.

futurefuel