• Fahad Ezzi

The brand new concept of FCEVs

After scientists have discovered the wide range of harmful effects that combustion engines – or car engines that require gas or oil to operate – cause, they have been working to their utmost potential to find an alternative. In 1996, the electric powered motor was introduced by the production of VIKRAM SAFA, and an electric scooter. Cars later adopted the idea and established the Battery Powered Vehicle (BEV), a.k.a. EVs. Several car makers started producing EVs such as Tesla, BMW, Audi, and many others. EVs proved to be effective and safe, especially when it comes to performance, by scoring whopping results, such as in 0-60mph tests. The charging speed was a limitation until superchargers were invented that have the ability to fully charge the vehicle in just 3-4 hours. Moreover, and most importantly, EVs were able to hit zero CO2 emissions while the consumer’s usage. However, the production of batteries causes just as much harm to the environment. Rather than polluting the air with harmful gasses, EVs consume a lot of earth’s resources, such as lithium at an alarming rate that will lead to unfortunate degradation. On the other hand, car production companies found another alternative that can be discussed. A brand-new engine system called Fuel Cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) has exhaust pipes that shot nothing but PURE WATER! So, did we finally find the perfect alternative for combustion engines, or does it still contain clingy side effects?

The mechanism of FCEVs is simple. Just like gas cars, FCEVs use batteries for miscellaneous operations such as starting, blinkers, etc. However, instead of an engine, FCEVs carry H2 gas tanks that later react with the oxygen from the air and produce H2O as a byproduct. Since replenishing the car after use only requires filling the tank, H2 tanks can be refueled in about 5 minutes. Now in terms of environmental friendliness, FCEVs require one of the most abundant elements in the universe to operate. Moreover, sucking the polluted air as an intake to react with the hydrogen atoms to form water vapor as a waste product can act as ultrafine dust filtration for the atmosphere. Even the H2 tanks themselves can be far more recyclable than Lithium-ion batteries. Lithium-ion batteries are a toll when it comes to abundant resources (which in most cases require harvesting) and recyclability. Although FCEVs still partially depend on batteries, the fact of starting with such an efficient concept can be a game-changer to the environment, taking into consideration the room FCEVs have for development. In other words, FCEVs will continue to improve till it reaches the pinnacle.

FCEVs are in the process of being accepted by companies and the population. China already implemented some full cell commercial vehicles on their public roads. China also established a vision by 2030 to have one million FCEVs for commercial purposes. Speaking of 2030, Saudi Arabia also will utilize H2-powered vehicles as a part of its vision. Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, Saudi minister of energy said: “This is a real booster to Saudi endeavors to achieve the Vision 2030 objective to diversify the Kingdom’s energy sources and become a global leader in all areas of energy.” Saudi Arabia will start production in some locations around the kingdom, such as Prince Nora University, NEOM, the Royal Commission for Jubail, and Yanbu. Hopefully, in the near future, all other countries would follow the same road to make a considerable change in our environment.