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Old 01 Sep 2010, 10:00 am
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Default FCX Clarity: Hydrogen - The Next-Generation Fuel

Hydrogen can be extracted anywhere.

The fuel cell vehicle produces electricity to drive its electric motor. The fuel it uses to produce that energy is hydrogen. Hydrogen is not found on its own in nature, but exists as a component within many different materials from which it can be extracted. Currently hydrogen is generated mainly from natural gas, but it can also be extracted from water via electrolysis using electricity produced from such renewable energy sources as solar, wind and hydroelectric power. Hydrogen is a fuel carrier that can be derived from renewable and low-carbon energy sources without overseas shipment or the risk of spillage.

It's difficult to store large amounts of electricity. An effective approach is to generate electricity using hydrogen onboard and on-demand.

A conventional battery-powered vehicle requires a continuous supply of electricity generated by a powerplant in order to meet anticipated needs - for example, by converting heat from the combustion of fossil fuels or from vehicle braking. One advantage of hydrogen is that it can be compressed or liquefied for delivery via pipeline, or for storage in tanks. Tank storage, in turn, allows a fuel cell to produce electricity whenever it is needed. Hydrogen can also be produced using solar, wind or hydroelectric energy, depending on the viability of these forms of energy production in a given region, ensuring a stable supply of hydrogen from renewable energy sources.

Aiming for a sustainable energy society free from dependence on fossil fuels.

In an ideal hydrogen cycle, hydrogen produced from water via electrolysis using solar, wind, hydroelectric and other renewable energy sources, would be used in fuel cells to generate electricity for use in cars and to meet other energy needs. The water produced as a byproduct of this process would then return to the rivers and oceans before once again being converted into hydrogen via electrolysis. By realizing such a renewable, water-to-water energy cycle, it may be possible one day to create truly sustainable energy supplies, freeing society from dependence on non-renewable and carbon-based energy sources.

Is it better to convert electricity to hydrogen first, or use it directly? What is the difference between an electric vehicle and a fuel cell vehicle?

If electricity is generated from a renewable energy source to produce hydrogen, but then that hydrogen is used to generate electricity in a fuel cell, why not just use the electricity directly to power the vehicle? Through the extraction, delivery and storage of hydrogen we can take advantage of the benefits the fuel cell vehicle offers beyond efficient electricity use. A hydrogen fuel cell vehicle can be refueled quickly, and it can have a range equivalent to that of a gasoline-powered car. Moreover, the fuel cell system and other powerplant components can be made powerful, lightweight and compact, permitting a freedom of layout that creates packaging and design options never before possible in an automobile.

The fuel cell vehicle: superior energy efficiency along with quiet, powerful performance.

Fuel cell vehicles, which operate on electricity converted from hydrogen, deliver the ultimate in environmental responsibility - and more. They also excel at propelling the vehicle with minimal loss of energy, generally exhibiting more than twice the energy efficiency of a conventional gasoline-powered car and superior mileage. The new FCX Clarity takes that performance to the next level, achieving more than three times the energy efficiency of compact, gasoline-powered Honda cars, which are already recognized for their excellent combustion efficiency, and doublethe energy efficiency of a gasoline-electric hybrid vehicle. And this high efficiency is maintained even at low output, resulting in reduced losses and outstanding fuel economy. What's more, the electric motor's distinctively smooth, powerful acceleration and quiet performance, free of the vibration associated with engine-powered vehicles, delivers an entirely new kind of driving experience.

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