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Old 19.11.2020, 02:24
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Re: Ban on new petrol and diesel cars in UK from 2030 under PM's green plan

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Personally, faced with such a choice I would go hydrogen powered.
Every hydrogen-powered vehicle commercially available today is an EV—a fuel cell electric vehicle, or FCEV. They all have fuel cells that produce energy through electrochemical means, using hydrogen and producing only water as a waste product. So far, so good.

Now we turn to how energy is supplied to power the car. Conventional (if that word applies now) or battery EVs (BEVs) are charged with electricity from a range of sources, including renewable, and I wouldn't write off or disparage solar or wind energy; they have come a long way and indications are that massive efficiency improvements are still likely with solar power cells. There are also hydroelectric power options in many countries, especially mountainous ones like Switzerland. Nuclear power may well make a comeback as one of the most efficient electricity generators around.

Hydrogen, on the other hand, while abundant in the Earth's atmosphere, is almost completely bound in molecules with other atoms. Elemental hydrogen can be separated from water by electrolysis. That is an expensive process that itself uses a great deal of energy, and it's very inefficient. So most hydrogen is extracted from natural gas or methane—in the process, releasing large quantities of carbon-based pollutants into the atmosphere. Having produced this expensive, polluting product, the hydrogen has to be transported and stored, and it's extremely explosive—much more so than petrol (which is very difficult to get to explode). Think the Hindenburg. Think also of millions of cars driving around with 100-litre explosive bombs on board. I don't fancy getting into an accident with one or more of those.

There are also multiple other practical issues mitigating against hydrogen power for cars. Elon Musk took a long, hard look at hydrogen before plumping decisively for "conventionally" powered electric motors; he concluded that hydrogen was a non-starter for cars. I'm happy to take his side, he seems to be good at picking winners.

Last edited by 22 yards; 19.11.2020 at 15:40. Reason: Typo
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