Scottish Daily Mail
Fuelled by the universe!
AS BRITAIN’S motorists are forced by the Government into a future of electric cars charged from the mains, some experts are asking: should we be stepping on the gas instead? By that they mean hydrogen — the most abundant element in the universe. The question came into sharp focus this week when billionaire British tycoon Sir Jim Ratcliffe signed a landmark deal with Korean car giant Hyundai to produce zero- emission versions of his f orthcoming new I NEOS Grenadier 4x4 that will run off hydrogen-powered electricity.
Many experts believe hydrogen fuel cells are the real green future: part of what might become ‘a hydrogen economy’ featuring cars, trucks, buses, planes and even homes.
Fuel cell cars are effectively ‘green’ power stations on wheels. They have zero emissions as their only byproduct is water.
Remarkably, they also purify the surrounding air as they drive by filtering out harmful particulates. Fuel-cell champion Hyundai aims to leapfrog the battery-technology of electric cars.
Its five-seater Nexo fuel cell is not cheap, from £65,495, but its 414-mile range beats most electric cars. It does rest to 62 mph in 9.54 seconds up to a top speed of 111 mph.
A fuel cell car such as the Nexo doesn’t burn hydrogen. Hydrogen from its high pressure fuel tank is used in a chemical reaction — reverse electrolysis — which takes place in a micro-thin membrane. The membrane acts as a catalyst for a reaction between the hydrogen and oxygen from the air, which generates electricity.
In a trial, a single Nexo purified 918.75kg of London air: the same amount one person breathes in 60 days. But not everyone is convinced.
A recent report by Cambridge-based IDTechEx says battery technology is catching up on range and found that fuel- cell cars are 60 per cent more expensive to buy and three times as much to run.