The fuel cell car myth

March 20, 2017
Fuel cell cars have a hidden global warming contribution: the pure hydrogen required by these vehicles is almost always produced using fossil fuels.

The "fuel cell cars" currently being advertised are being touted as "having no emissions except water." In a limited sense that is, in fact, true. However, if the entire fuel cycle for the car is considered it most certainly is not. The fuel used by the fuel cell is hydrogen, very pure hydrogen. Combined with oxygen from the ambient air, the fuel cell produces electricity that powers an electric motor and other devices in the vehicle--just like the battery-driven electric vehicles already on the market. These don't produce any emissions at all. Unfortunately, you can't harvest pure hydrogen by drilling a hole in the ground. It has to be produced from some other source; that source is almost always a fossil fuel.

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