What is Fuel Cell Technology?
We’ve been speaking a little bit about the U.S. Honda Clarity FCV lately, so we thought this week’s How’s This Work would be the perfect time to dive into exactly what fuel cell technology is, in case you’re unaware. With all of the demand for alternative fuel sources, fuel cell technology is one of the brightest ideas the automotive industry has had thus far, though it is a slow-moving process due to a lack of refueling stations around the globe, especially here in Canada.
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How does Fuel Cell Technology work?
Rather than utilizing actual gasoline, fuel cell vehicles are powered by hydrogen. Technically they are electric vehicles, but rather than using electricity generated from a power source, the hydrogen-filled fuel cell generates electricity on the move. The biggest obstacle to widespread fuel cell vehicles is, as we mentioned, a lack of refueling stations. Refueling works much like a gas station, as drivers will fill their fuel cell with hydrogen from a tank – and it takes only a few minutes.
So why is fuel cell technology the brightest idea yet? For starters, vehicles utilizing fuel cell technology creating zero tailpipe emissions, which is a huge plus for the environmentalists out there. For those people worried about gasoline drying out as a resource, hydrogen is a renewable resource, meaning we’ll never run out of it. And a fuel cell vehicle can be driven for more than 300 miles with the benefit of smooth and quiet driving that all-electric vehicles offer.
Which brings us to how exactly it works. The fuel cell is just one piece to the puzzle, but it performs the act of converting hydrogen into electricity, which then powers a high-torque electric motor to operate the vehicle. On top of that, FCVs offer another battery pack that has the ability to store energy from things like deceleration and braking to add even more electrons into the mix.
You can watch the video below for a more visual representation of how hydrogen fuel cell technology works, and what exactly it is. We still don’t know if or when the Honda Clarity might become available, but we’ll keep you posted if we learn any more.