We have heard of the benefits of the hydrogen economy many times. It is presented as a green alternative for transportation. A fuel that does not emit carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and can be produced cleanly. However, its efficiency is much lower than what might be expected. And it falls far short of battery electric vehicles. But this new element would benefit the oil and petrochemical companies that manufacture it. And they probably don't want to lose their market power if diesel and gasoline die in the long run.
The hydrogen economy has many pros going for it. The first one is that it allows cars to circulate and only emit water. A great advantage over current fossil fuels. That's clear. Another of its benefits is its speed of loading. A vehicle only takes three minutes to fill its hydrogen tanks. Similar time to refuelling gasoline, but much shorter than charging an electric car battery, which takes hours.
But what is not realized about the hydrogen economy is its low efficiency when producing it. To obtain this element in a clean way, it is necessary to use green energy. That is, it comes from the wind, the sun or some hydroelectric power station, for example. This entails a loss of close to 50% of said energy, which reduces its efficiency.
And as if that were not enough, then this hydrogen is used to obtain electricity again, and thus propel car engines, leaving another 25% on the way. In other words, of all the green energy that was generated, at the end of the entire process, only a quarter has been recovered. Or what is the same, 75% of the electricity has been lost through all this treatment that involves enormous costs. This makes green hydrogen currently unprofitable.
The hydrogen economy is not for everyone
However, the hydrogen economy today is seen as a way to store the green electricity that is produced and is sometimes discarded because it is not used. It should be remembered that electricity has to be used when it is produced because it is very difficult to store. For this reason, hydrogen is sold as a solution to maintain it and use it when necessary.
Despite the great advantages that the hydrogen economy would have, a car with this fuel would only benefit the oil companies. They could continue their activity and start selling this fuel instead of gasoline or diesel.
Although some car companies have invested large amounts of money in the development of this technology, others have denied that hydrogen is the right choice for cars. The last to raise its voice was Volkswagen.
The CEO of the German group, Herbert Diess, said through the social network Twitter that it has been shown that the hydrogen car is not the solution. For him, electrification has established itself as the right choice for cars. For this reason, he regretted that this debate is a waste of time and has claimed that we must listen to science.