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Personal: Transportation

Fuel Cells and Hydrogen

What are fuel cells and hydrogen?
Benefits
Availability and Cost
Safety and Performance
Government Programs and Regulations
Links

Safety and Performance

Safety

Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are as safe or safer than conventional gasoline vehicles. Like gasoline, hydrogen is explosive and flammable, but since any fuel leak rapidly disperses, there is no dangerous pooling of fuel. Hydrogen detectors are used at refueling stations and on vehicles.

Safety is a priority in all aspects of hydrogen energy production, storage, distribution and use. Codes and standards governing the use of hydrogen as a transportation fuel are now being created nationally and internationally.

Performance

Demonstrations have shown that fuel cell buses have performed as well as, or better than, diesel buses. They're quieter and more powerful at lower speeds.

Overall, today's fuel cell vehicle prototypes have performance characteristics similar to those of conventional internal combustion engine vehicles, and eventually fuel cell vehicles will offer superior performance. Benefits of fuel cell vehicles include:

  • having practically no moving parts, thus requiring no oil for lubrication
  • being fairly reliable, considering that the technology is relatively new
  • offering increased passenger comfort because there is no transmission, leading to a smoother ride and more interior room
  • producing 30 to 90 percent less greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than conventional vehicles, depending on the type of fuel used to produce hydrogen