Toyota and Hydrogen Fuel Cell Technology ( Solar Thermal Magazine)
Key players in the auto industry are seeking ways of replacing petroleum based fuels in fueling the cars. The invention and development of electric cars is a case in point. Some of the car makers believe that the future of the auto industry lies in the use of hydrogen fuel.
One of the most vocal advocates of a transition from petroleum based fuels to hydrogen fuel cell technology is Toyota. However, such companies may have gotten it wrong. They may not have realized that the disadvantages of hydrogen outweigh the advantages.
Toyota’s Commitment to Hydrogen Cell Technology
Toyota’s North American top executive, speaking from Los Angeles, California, stated that the company is shying away from building longer range battery electric vehicles and is laying a stronger emphasis on hydrogen fuel motor vehicles. Toyota states that hydrogen fuel will offer “the best solution to the challenges of energy sources and emissions, with hydrogen as an ideal, ultra clean fuel.”
Toyota offered free patents to individuals who would advance the use of fuel cell technology. The reason for this was that Toyota realized that it cannot have a market for hydrogen powered cars such as Toyota Mirai. In addition to that, the company wants to solve the problem of refueling the hydrogen cell car.
The Case Against Hydrogen Powered Cars
There are several disadvantages that Toyota can derive from investing in electric cars instead of hydrogen cars. The entire hydrogen fueling process has an inherent efficiency. Another obstacle facing the use of hydrogen is that the car industry does not have sufficient infrastructure for the transportation, storage, and delivery of hydrogen. In fact, hydrogen is a poor energy carrier and records a poor score in energy efficiency.
Hydrogen is not found free in nature. Consequently, mass production of the same can be an expensive and demanding undertaking. It has a low ignition energy that takes a similarity with gasoline. If stored in the liquid phase, it requires very high pressure and low temperatures. Moreover, it has low density and also a specific volume energy density.
Perhaps, the greatest disadvantage with the use of hydrogen in fueling cars is that it is currently expensive. It should be noted that for a renewable energy to be sustainable, it should be in a position to reach as many people as possible. One of the most effective ways of ensuring the same is through making sure that it is affordable.
The eclectic car may be an expensive option, but the cost of running an electric vehicle is significantly come down, and there is all the likelihood that the price will continue going down.
Maybe they should rethink their position on hydrogen.
Toyota may be a big company that has a high capital base and a high capital margin. It may have done other extensive studies that were right. But it failed terribly on its hydrogen policy. It is important for such a major company to make a comprehensive study on any company plan. This is because any modification of a laid plan may be an expensive undertaking. At the moment, Toyota has no option but to rethink its hydrogen policy and retract its steps.