Where is Dr. Moondust on this summer’s day? Driving to destinations and duties in the new electro-mobility in a car with a hydrogen engine. We’ll call the fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) the H car! And let’s note that she applies Sun Protector Plus (SPP) to have full protection for her skin type, even as she navigates traffic behind the window. Even in the excitement of her new ‘ride’, Dr. Moondust follows the advice she shares.
Why Dr. Moondust chose an H car?
The short answer from Dr. Moondust is: “It’s a beautiful sleek car with zero carbon emissions.” So, functionality and environmental protection, yet, there is more to the vehicle than meets the eye. It does blend nicely with other vehicles on the road, and is being produced in greater numbers for personal and industrial use.
About H cars and their essential components
Car and technology buffs both can admire how H Cars are powered.
Compressed hydrogen gas powers these fuel cell cars. The hydrogen gas feeds into an onboard fuel cell or “stack”. It doesn’t burn the gas. It transforms the fuel’s chemical energy into electrical energy. The electricity that is produced powers the car’s electric motors.
Pure water is the only waste product sent out through the tailpipe, so emissions that we have come to expect from our vehicles are zero.
The fuel cell is essentially similar to a battery in construction. Hydrogen enters the anode. There it comes in contact with a catalyst that enables the hydrogen atoms to separate into an electron and proton. A collector known as a conductive current collector gathers the electrons. This process is connected to the vehicle’s high-voltage circuitry designed to feed the onboard battery and/or the motors that turn the wheels.
For those curious about the behind the scenes, or rather under the hood components – here they are:
- Fuel Cell Stack– groups of fuel cells that combine oxygen and hydrogen to generate electricity and power the electric motor
- Fuel Tank– a carbon-fiber reinforced tank that stores hydrogen
- Electric Motor– that powers the car with the energy produced in the fuel cell stack
- Battery– provides additional power to the electric motor and gets it from the regenerative design of the brakes
- Exhaust– the only byproduct of the reaction occurring in the fuel cell stack is water vapor and it is sent out via the exhaust
Of note is the thermal, or cooling system that maintains a proper operating temperature range for all the components named above. And of course the electric transmission that transfers mechanical power from the motor to drive the wheels, as we understand it in conventional vehicles. See all the components diagrammed in this USA Government graphic.
What is Dr. Moondust’s experience?
It drives just like a regular keyless car and has all the computerized amenities on this screen. The seats are the classic straight Toyota seats, which are very comfortable and good for the back. And, after each run, one presses this button to release the water that has been generated during the drive. It’s really quite simple.
What about ‘gassing’ up’ a Hydrogen car?
While the cars are available industrially, it will be a while before there are enough hydrogen stations to service the cars they are selling in your town.
“Even regular gas stations like Shell, are starting to install liquid hydrogen pumps, now, so, hopefully, it won’t be too long before they are replacing gas pumps everywhere! It is the single most effective way that each person can make a difference and combat climate-change,” says Dr. Moondust.
For a look inside, see this video of Dr. Moondust in her Hydrogen car
Could a conversation about a car ever be complete without asking: What colour did you get?
“There are a few colours to choose from and my favourite, right away, was this metallic grey called Heavy Metal”.
Have a safe summer on the road and in the sun!
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