Disadvantages/Dangers Of A Hydrogen Car


Hydrogen is the very first element of the periodic table with the element number one. It is incidentally the most abundant element in the universe also. Although on earth, its availability in free form is scarce. In the environment, it is present but in very low percentages. One does find hydrogen on earth but in form of many compounds. It is combined with other elements and is stored on earth as molecules. The most common and abundant molecule of hydrogen is water, that covers about 70% of the earth's surface. Similarly, other common compounds of the hydrogen are methane, CH4 and ethane, C2H6.

Hydrogen cars are developed as the future mode of transport for people. Hydrogen cars will use hydrogen as its primary on-board fuel. The hydrogen will be used either in an internal combustion engine or in the hydrogen fuel cells to power the car. Hydrogen as fuel has many benefits. It is a clean fuel with almost no emissions. The only emission coming out of a hydrogen car is water vapor, which is not harmful for the environment. There are no sulfurous and nitrogenous toxic emissions. Then there are no greenhouse gas emissions so no contribution to global warming simultaneously reducing the carbon footprint.

Hydrogen cars will definitely boost the hydrogen economy, enhancing energy security and creating wealth's from savings for nations. The dependence on foreign oil will also reduce greatly. However, like two sides of the coin, hydrogen fuel does have disadvantages also with the advantages.

The first disadvantage as of currently is that we are short on techniques that can extract hydrogen and store hydrogen efficiently. The hydrogen requires to be extracted in a highly compressed liquid form. Storing liquid hydrogen in tanks is safe, however if it escapes in to the environment then it gives rise to many danger situations.

The first in the list is hydrogen burns, which means given the presence of an oxidizer like oxygen, hydrogen catches fire. It ignites more easily than petrol and the ignition can also be explosive. Under ideal conditions, there should be no oxygen in the liquid hydrogen tanks.

The other bigger concern is that of hydrogen flames being nearly invisible. Therefore, when hydrogen does catch fire, the flames will be accordingly not bright enough to be recognized. It makes fighting a fire due to hydrogen combustion even harder to fight. Then there is the risk of asphyxiation. Although, it is not a poisonous gas but if it leaks inside the closed car, then you would not be able to determine. Since hydrogen is very similar to oxygen in its gaseous behavior so you won't be able to recognize and ultimately die of choking as it will be all hydrogen that you will be breathing.

Finally yet importantly is the risk of Frostbite. Frostbite is caused when your skin from any part of your body comes into direct contact of liquid hydrogen. Since liquid hydrogen is stored at temperatures of extreme negatives. It is extremely compressed so it requires extreme cold temperatures.