Lower carbon cars by reducing dissipation in hydrogen hybrids

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Abstract

Fossil fuel is the major source of energy for all forms of motor vehicle, with gasoline and diesel fuels dominating our personal transport. Although biofuels have been used to inject some renewable energy into the transport system, imports of oil and gas to Europe, the USA and Japan continue to rise. A move to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions by driving more efficient vehicles is therefore necessary. This paper considers a shift to reduced friction hydrogen electric vehicles that give three major benefits: (i) sourcing hydrogen from low carbon sources like wind, biomass, nuclear and solar; (ii) using an electric drivetrain to minimize energy conversion to heat; and (iii) reducing resistances to motion to give lower energy requirements for traction. This energy dissipation due to friction proves to be a complex mixture of tyre losses, brake adhesion, wind resistance, fuel conversion inefficiency, motor resistance, drivetrain losses, auxiliary power consumption and so on. By considering the addition of many loss terms, it is shown that the energy dissipation in fuel cell-powered vehicles resolves into a linear function of vehicle weight.

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