If you live in Japan or California, you’ll now get the fun out of driving one of the most advanced hydrogen fuel cell cars on the market, the Toyota Mirai. It’s the result of years of technological research into viable alternative energy solutions.
The Mirai looks space age and is equipped with a 10,000psi hydrogen fuel tank that is triple reinforced to prevent leakage. Although hydrogen will burn, it is so light a gas that even if the tank were to be ruptured it would easily just escape into the air. When in operation, the hydrogen is ignited producing over 150 horsepower for the vehicle and produces a waste product, if you could call it waste, of just plain old water.
The car has all the bells and whistles of today’s modern vehicles so the only difference is in the fuel and the mileage covered. It can go over 400km on a single tank and outdoes other like cars. If the U.S. Government gets on the ball soon, there will be enough refueling stations to support such technologies and much safer since Toyota has thousands of patents they’re dishing out so that hydrogen refueling stations can be built.
What’s this all mean for the alternative energy market? It means a goodbye to dangerous and expensive fossil fuels as hydrogen is the most widely available gas in the universe. It’s the first element on the periodic table and the lightest. You can extract hydrogen from just about anywhere and anything, but water is the primary source as water is just a combination of one hydrogen atom and two oxygen atoms. Since the waste product is water, there’s no waste of source whatsoever. A clean and better than renewable energy source.
This hydrogen fuel cell breakthrough has taken almost 100 years since its conception to become a practical reality. With the expansion of the application of such, we may soon see all vehicles carrying such devices and perhaps even conversions for fossil fuel vehicles already on the road.
For now, we’ll have to see how the Mirai performs overall in the US and abroad. Likewise for all of the vehicles that use such technologies. When the statistics and metrics are in, we’ll have a better idea how efficient, safe, and economical these engines are. There’s probably going to be some resistance from the Big Oil industry but they can see the forest for the trees on this one and if they’re smart, they’ll jump on the bandwagon and soon.
Image credit: Michal Setlak (Wikipedia)