Is fuel cell vehicles are considered an alternative fuel vehicles?
- 6 years agoFavorite Answer
Fuel cell vehicles are misunderstood by some and assumed to be an alternative fuel vehicle which is probably false based upon some analysis.
There are a number of terms that are used without any formal definition. These include "alternative" "sustainable" "renewable" and "green." I like to think of them as increasingly restrictive. Here is someone who agrees and offers their own definitions: http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?doc_id=209565...
For something to be "alternative" is would only have to be an alternative to fossil fuels. A "fuel cell vehicle" is an electric car that generates its own electricity on the vehicle from a stored fuel used in a fuel cell. Fuel cells can be made to generate electricity from many different fuels. What we most commonly hear about is a hydrogen fuel cell for cars. But fuel cells for stationary generation of electricity are generally powered by the fossil fuel natural gas.
When we look at the production of hydrogen we find that 96% of industrial hydrogen is made from fossil fuels: "...48% of hydrogen production (for industrial processes) is from natural gas, 30% is from oil, 18% is from coal, and 4% is from electrolysis." http://peswiki.com/index.php/PowerPedia:Hydrogen
And so if you are considering how hydrogen "could" be made it is an "alternative fuel," but when we find out how most of it is actually made it clearly is just another form of fossil fuels and not an "alternative."
But there are some who would like to use an even more basic definition of "alternative" and suggest that if it is not diesel or gasoline it is an "alternative" but then a coal powered steam locomotive from 100 years ago would then be an "alternative fuel vehicle." I think this rather confuses the issue and makes a poor definition or one specifically intended to confuse.
- Stephen LLv 76 years ago
Yes. If hydrogen isn't an alternative fuel, then I don't know what is. :-)