Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles: Current Prospects and Challenges Beyond 2020

Cora Ö. N.


  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Summary Text
  • Page Numbers: pp.1


Both academic and industrial R&D motivation for fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) has lagged behind the immense momentum increase for battery electric vehicles (BEV) in last decades. Even though there are quite important challenges that need to be addresses for both technologies, the problems with BEV technology can be tackled relatively easier. This study aimed to review current important challenges for FCEV technology which can be summarized under at least 4 different categories such as 1) Hydrogen production: Even though the byproducts of the reaction takes place in FCEVs are just water and electricity, the hydrogen production from natural gas or other hydrocarbons is not cost-effective and environmetally friendly as it is thought. Global daily consumption of hydrogen, mostly by oil refineries and chemical industry, is about 70 million tonnes and significantly associated with CO2 emissions. 2) Storage and distribution: Hydrogen storage is still regarded as problematic due to several reasons including liquefication of hydrogen at high pressures, safety measures for compressed hydrogen storage tanks, leakage/storage challenges, gravimetric and volumetric inefficiency etc. Due to paradigm shift to autonomous driving which enables passengers move freely inside vehicles, the energy storage should be located at the bottom of vehicles in flat form. Therefore, current cylindrical type IV pressure vessels are needed to be replaced with rectangular shaped ones. 3) Distribution: Transportation of hydrogen in mass scale is quite expensive and it also requires relatively complicated infrastructure for refueling FCEVs. 4) Economy: Compared to BEV, FCEV infrastructure is more expensive. A scenario analysis showed that FCEV would be more economical over BEV if a fleet size of one million cars are on the road. On the other hand, durability and degradation issues of stack components should be addressed. Despite these challenges FCEV shows slow but consistently increasing trend.