Role of hydrogen-powered vehicles subject of new study

Role of hydrogen-powered vehicles subject of new study

August 17, 2012 0 By Bret Williams

RMIT researchers aim to examine the role that hydrogen fuel cells play in transportation

Though hydrogen fuel has become a primary focus of the global auto industry, the role that hydrogen-powered vehicles will play in the future has been subject to debate. Because hydrogen-powered vehicles are still in an early stage of their existence, it is impossible to say for certain that they will be a prominent part of transportation in the future. Though automakers are keen to highlight the benefits of hydrogen fuel, they have been unable to generate universal support for vehicles equipped with fuel cells. Researchers from the RMIT University have launched a new study that aims to address the question of what role hydrogen-powered vehicles may play in the future.

Advances in technology make fuel cells more viable

Hydrogen fuel cells are expected to compete with lithium-ion batteries, which have already established a strong presence in transportation. Fuel cells and hydrogen storage systems have only recently reached a point where they are being considered viable. RMIT researchers note that the advances in fuel cell and storage technologies have made hydrogen fuel a powerful contender. Researchers suggest that fuel cell technology may be better suited for some purposes than lithium-ion batteries.

Fuel cells may be ideal energy systems for large trucks

Researchers suggest that hydrogen fuel cells may be ideally suited for large trucks that operate in the materials handling and transportation sector. Trucks equipped with hydrogen fuel cells produce no greenhouse gas emissions and are capable of operating quietly. Researchers suggest that the environmental and social advantages of these hydrogen-powered vehicles are too positive to ignore.

Hydrogen-powered vehicles may dominate the materials handling space

There are questions regarding whether fuel cells are a viable option for passenger vehicles. The global auto industry has embarked on an aggressive campaign to prove that the energy systems are viable, but RMIT researchers suggest they may have difficulty competing with lithium-ion batteries. As such, hydrogen fuel cells may have a place in the materials handling space, where they can be used in large commercial trucks and forklifts.


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