Category: Fuel Cell

Electric Car and Pollution | Carbon Footprint of Electric Cars vs Gasoline

This post addresses the topic of Electric car and Pollution, Carbon Footprint of Electric Cars v’s Gasoline, Low Emission Development Strategies, as well as the Electric Vehicles are good for the environment. Electric motor vehicles are admired, due to no harmed emissions on the path, as an economically sustainable option to fuel driven cars.



Electric Car and Pollution

The transport sector is the principal source, since almost one fourth of all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are emitted in European cities. Emissions have been lowered since 2007, but are nevertheless higher than in 1990. Road transport, in fact, was deemed responsible for more than 70% of the transport GHG pollution in 2014 (where civil aircraft account for 13.1%, ship traffic is 13%, railway traffic is 0.6%, road traffic is 72.8% and the other means of services are 0.5%).



Carbon Footprint of Electric Cars vs Gasoline

The initiatives to be undertaken for the purification of air are:

  • Employ modern technology, introduce competitive rates and promote a push to reduce transport pollution to improve transport network efficiency;
  • Encourage and expedite the radical transition to internal combustion engines and sustainable transport power sources with reduced pollution requirements by use green energies like hydrogen, advanced biofuels and synthetic renewable fuels and electricity;
  • Conversion to reduced- to zero-emission cars will be encouraged.


Low Emission Development Strategies

Continuous funding from local governments is a crucial determinant to the effectiveness of such policies. Such jurisdictions will offer incentives to citizens to use low-emission cars focused on the usage of renewable sources of electricity. We could also encourage the use of other transport methods, such as biking and walking, public transportation and arrangements to share / pool cars, that reduce pollutants effectively.

Are Electric Vehicles Good for the Environment?

Over the last ten years, electric vehicles (EVs), largely as a consequence of their small emissions of flue gas and a reduced dependence on gasoline, have been common. In 2022, EVs are expected to reach about 35 million worldwide. A big issue with EVs, though, is that their strong usage raises the power system division and transformer shortage and competition for heavy energy. The incorporation of local energy generation including RESs in an EV charging system is an successful solution to the effects.

Fossil fuels produce 60% of the worldwide electricity

On average, 60 % of the world’s power comes out from coal and gas, that is to say, from fossil fuels. I.e., a car emits almost as much CO2 as a petrol or diesel car per kilo metre.

The vehicle emissions are classified broadly in two types:

  1. direct and
  2. life cycles.
Direct emissions:

Direct emissions are released through the car’s exhaust, via the fuel system’s evaporation during the fueling process. Direct emissions include smog-forming emissions (such as nitrogen oxides, other human health-destroying contaminants) and greenhouse gases, predominantly CO2. The generation of zero direct emissions in electric vehicles is especially helpful in improving quality of the air. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles which also have an electric motor and a gasoline engine, emit fuel-system evaporation emissions.

Life cycle Emissions:

The emissions from the life cycle included all emissions related to the manufacture, refining, distribution, use and recovery / deposition of fuel. For example, emissions are produced by the mining of petroleum, refining to gasoline and distributing to stations and burning in vehicle, for a traditional gasoline vehicle. As direct emissions, a number of harmful contaminants and Green House Gases are part of the life-cycle emissions.

All vehicles generate large emissions from the life cycle and are difficult to quantify. However, the generation of energy is usually less than traditional vehicles since the bulk of energy emissions are lower than combustion of petrol or diesel.


Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cells (PEM) | Proton Exchange Membrane (PxM) Fuel Cells | 5 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Fuel Cell

Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cell


Polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (PEM) —also called proton exchange membrane fuel cells—deliver high-power density and offer the advantages of low weight and volume, compared with other fuel cells. Polymer Electrolyte Membrane fuel cells use a solid polymer as an electrolyte and porous carbon electrodes containing a platinum catalyst. They need only hydrogen, oxygen from the air, and water to operate and do not require corrosive fluids like some fuel cells. They are typically fueled with pure hydrogen supplied from storage tanks or on-board reformers.

Concept of Fuel Cell Technology


The anode (negative electrode) receives the hydrogen and the cathode (positive electrode) collects the oxygen. Fuel cell technology is twice as efficient as combustion in turning carbon fuel to energy. Hydrogen, the simplest chemical element (one proton and one electron), is plentiful and exceptionally clean as a fuel. Hydrogen makes up 90 percent of the universe and is the third most abundant element on the earth’s surface. Such a wealth of fuel would provide an almost unlimited pool of clean energy at relatively low cost. But there is a hitch.

With most fuels, hydrogen is bonded to other substances and “unleashing” the gas takes energy. In terms of net calorific value (NCV), hydrogen is more costly to produce than gasoline. Some say that hydrogen is nearly energy neutral, meaning that it takes as much energy to produce as it delivers at the end destination.

History of Fuel Cell

Sir William Grove, a Welsh judge and gentleman scientist, developed the fuel cell concept in 1839, but the invention never took off. This was during the development of the internal combustion engine that showed promising results.  It was not until the 1960’s that the fuel cell was put to practical use during the Gemini space program. NASA preferred this clean power source to nuclear or solar power. The alkaline fuel cell system that was chosen generated electricity and produced drinking water for the astronauts.

High material costs made the fuel cell prohibitive for commercial use. The fuel cell core (stack) is expensive and has a limited life span. Burning fossil fuel in a combustion engine is the simplest and most effective means to harness energy, but it pollutes.

High cost did not discourage the late Karl Kordesch, the co-inventor of the alkaline battery, from converting his car to an alkaline fuel cell in the early 1970’s. He mounted the hydrogen tank on the roof and placed the fuel cell and backup batteries in the trunk. According to Kordesch, there was enough room for four people and a dog. He drove his car for many years in Ohio, USA, but the only problem, Kordesch told me in person, was that the car did not pass inspections because it had not tail pipe.

Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cell (PEM) Technology:

01-PEM-Proton exchange membrane-fuel cell-polymer elctrolyte membrane fuel cell-PEFC-carbon diffusion layer-catalyst layer-platinum nano particles-hydrogen fuel cell production

Polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells operate at relatively low temperatures, around 80°C (176°F). Low-temperature operation allows them to start quickly (less warm-up time) and results in less wear on system components, resulting in better durability. However, it requires that a noble-metal catalyst (typically platinum) be used to separate the hydrogen’s electrons and protons, adding to system cost.

The platinum catalyst is also extremely sensitive to CO poisoning, making it necessary to employ an additional reactor to reduce CO in the fuel gas if the hydrogen is derived from an alcohol or hydrocarbon fuel. This also adds cost. Developers are currently exploring platinum/ruthenium catalysts that are more resistant to CO.

Fuel Cell Membranes

In order for a PEM fuel cell to operate, a Proton Exchange Membrane is needed that will carry the hydrogen ions, proton, from the anode to the cathode without passing the electrons that were removed from the hydrogen atoms. These polymer membranes that conduct proton through the membrane but are reasonably impermeable to the gases, serve as solid electrolytes (vs. liquid electrolyte) for variety of electrochemical applications, and are commonly known as Proton Exchange Membrane and/or Polymer Electrolyte Membranes (PEM).

For PEM fuel cell and electrolyzer applications, a polymer electrolyte membrane is sandwiched between an anode electrode and a cathode electrode. During electrochemical reaction, oxidation reaction at the anode generates protons and electrons; reduction reaction at the cathode combines protons and electrons with oxidants to generate water. To complete the electrochemical reaction, the proton exchange membrane plays a critical role that conducts protons from anode to cathode through the membrane. The proton exchange membrane also performs as a separator for separating anode and cathode reactants in fuel cells and electrolyzers.

Types of Fuel Cell Membrane

  1. Cation Exchange Membrane (CEM)
  2. Anion Exchange Membrane (AEM)
  3. Bipolar Membrane

Whats is the Difference Between Cation and Anion Exchange Membranes?

Cation Exchange Membranes (CEM) are usually comprised of a fluorinated polymer with sulfonic acid sites and have excellent ionic conductivity and thermal/chemical durability. Currently manufactured Anion Exchange Membranes (AEMs) can utilize various alkaline stable polymeric materials as the host material and come with various functional sites that conducts OH- or any other anionic species.  Thermal/chemical durability of AEMs are in general lower compared to its CEM counterparts.

PEM Fuel Cell Applications:

PEM fuel cells are used primarily for transportation applications and some stationary applications. Due to their fast startup time, low sensitivity to orientation, and favorable power-to-weight ratio, PEM fuel cells are particularly suitable for use in passenger vehicles, such as cars and buses.

Disadvantages of Fuel Cell:

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PEM Fuel cell with methanol reformer-CO resistant proton exchange membrane fuel cell system-onboard fuel cell processor-higher density liquid fuels

A significant barrier to using these fuel cells in vehicles is hydrogen storage. Most fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) powered by pure hydrogen must store the hydrogen on-board as a compressed gas in pressurized tanks. Due to the low-energy density of hydrogen, it is difficult to store enough hydrogen on-board to allow vehicles to travel the same distance as gasoline-powered vehicles before refueling, typically 300–400 miles.

Higher-density liquid fuels, such as methanol, ethanol, natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas, and gasoline, can be used for fuel, but the vehicles must have an on-board fuel processor to reform the methanol to hydrogen. This requirement increases costs and maintenance. The reformer also releases carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas), though less than that emitted from current gasoline-powered engines.

Portable Fuel Cells of the Future




Portable fuel cells have gained attention and the most promising development is the direct methanol fuel cell. This small unit is inexpensive to manufacture, convenient to use and does not require pressurized hydrogen gas. The Methanol fuel cell has good electro-chemical performance and refilling is done by squirting in liquid or replacing the cartridge. This enables continued operation without downtime.

Manufactures admit that a direct battery replacement by the fuel cell is years away. To bridge the gap, the micro fuel cell serves as a charger to provide continuous operation for the onboard battery. Furthermore, methanol is toxic and flammable, and there are limitations to how much fuel passengers can carry on an aircraft. In 2008 the Department of Transportation issued a ruling to permit passengers and crew to carry an approved fuel cell with an installed methanol cartridge and up to two additional spare cartridges of 200 ml.