The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Tech talk

Hydrogen-powered vehicles would be the ultimate clean, green form of transportation

A hydrogen vehicle uses hydrogen as fuel for motive power. Hydrogen fuel cells convert chemical energy into torque, thus producing electricity for the vehicle. The fuel cell combines hydrogen, stored in a fuel tank on the vehicle, with oxygen from the atmosphere to make electricity. The electricity then powers the electric motor that drives the front wheels. Water vapour and heat are the only by-products.

Such vehicles require a hydrogen tank that stores hydrogen, a V Flow fuel cell stack that generates electricity, a lithium-ion battery that stores electricity, a Power Drive Unit (PDU) that governs electrical flow and an electric drive motor that propels the vehicle.

A fuel cell is made up of a thin membrane wedged between two electrode layers between two separators. Several hundred layers of these cells are connected in a series.

First, hydrogen fuel is fed into the anode of the fuel cell. With a catalyst, hydrogen molecules are split into electrons and protons. The electrons are channelled through a circuit to produce electricity and the protons pass through the polymer electrolyte membrane. Then, oxygen enters the cathode and combines with the electrons and protons to form water and water vapour and heat are released as by-products of this reaction.

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