The Latest Eco-Friendly Car Technology
Installing solar panels, switching off appliances and recycling are all ways we can help to save the environment. This is a world where “going green” has become something of a trend, and that’s a good thing! From global conferences to celebrities, the world over is sitting up and taking notice – and so is the car manufacturing industry. They’re coming up with new ways to back the environment by catering for their new eco-conscious market. While there are already many eco-friendly cars on the market, such as the well-known Toyota Prius, there are always new ways to reinvent and improve this technology.
So, what is the latest technology?
Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEV) are the latest innovation in eco-friendly cars. All electric cars run on batteries that need to be charged. The installation of a fuel cell means that your car battery will not need to be recharged externally, which saves time and energy. The installation of a fuel cell keeps the battery charged while you drive and means that your electric car will run off hydrogen. Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the world but is generally combined with other elements. The most common method used today to produce free hydrogen is called “Steam Methane Reforming”. Without getting too scientific, here are the basic details. All natural gases contain methane. When this reacts with steam of very high temperatures, hydrogen and carbon monoxide are formed. Then in a process called “Water Gas Shift Reaction”, the carbon monoxide is reacted with water to form carbon dioxide and more hydrogen. The other gases are separated from the hydrogen. This leaves you with pure hydrogen.
How does this hydrogen powered FCEV work?
Fuel Cells have the ability to convert hydrogen into electricity. This electricity powers the car’s battery and keeps it charged. The reaction in the fuel cell gives off heat and water as a byproduct, which results in steam escaping from the exhaust pipe, rather than harmful gases.
To understand this concept a bit better, take a look at the diagram below:
When can we expect to see FCEVs?
They already exist, however, only for lease. Large car manufacturers have stated that they’ll be releasing their fuel cell car models to the public from 2015. Manufacturers such as Mercedes-Benz, Nissan and Hyundai have confirmed their commitment to these eco-friendly cars. For the first time in Olympic history, the 2012 London Olympics has a sustainability committee. Click here to learn other Olympic firsts. They are measuring and making great strides in cutting the Games’ carbon emissions. Among other things, 20 London cabs were remodelled – all designed to be fuel cell cars.
Who could we see driving these cars?
More and more celebrities are becoming eco-conscious and using their fame as a platform to create awareness. Leonardo DiCaprio is probably the biggest environmentalist celebrity out there. He owns an eco-friendly car and home, he has installed solar panels and water filters throughout his house. Other celebrities making a difference include Will Ferrell, George Clooney and Paris Hilton.
Which models do they drive?
- Diane Kruger drives a Mercedes-Benz B-Class F-Cell. She is one of 35 in California to lease this Mercedes-Benz hydrogen fuel cell vehicle
- Leonardo DiCaprio owns a Fisker Karma plug-in hybrid sports car
- Will Ferrell owns a BMW Hydrogen 7, he was the first American citizen to own one
- George Clooney drives a Tango
- Paris Hilton drives a 2008 GMC Yukon Hybrid
Visit www.fuelcelltoday.com to read more about Fuel Cell Technology and events at The World Hydrogen Conference happening in Toronto from 3 June this year.