How much hydrogen does a hydrogen car require and how is it calculated?

How much hydrogen does a hydrogen car require and how is it calculated?


With the growing attention to hydrogen technologies as a promising alternative to power vehicles, it’s natural to wonder how much hydrogen a hydrogen car needs and how this amount is determined. In this article, we will explore the technical and practical aspects behind the quantity of hydrogen required by a hydrogen vehicle, considering factors such as engine efficiency and range.

1. What Is a Hydrogen Car?

Before delving into how much hydrogen a hydrogen car needs, it’s important to understand how these vehicles work. A hydrogen car, also known as a fuel cell vehicle, utilizes a fuel cell stack that converts gaseous hydrogen stored onboard into electricity through a chemical reaction with oxygen from the air. This electricity powers an electric motor that drives the vehicle. The only emission from the process is water vapor.

2. Efficiency of the Hydrogen Engine

The efficiency of a hydrogen engine is a critical factor in determining how much hydrogen is needed. Modern hydrogen engines are quite efficient, converting a significant portion of the chemical energy in hydrogen into electrical energy. The conversion efficiency of hydrogen into electricity in these engines can exceed 60%, which is notably high compared to conventional internal combustion engines.

3. Hydrogen Consumption per Kilometer (or Mile)

The amount of hydrogen consumed by a hydrogen vehicle per kilometer (or mile) varies based on several factors. One key factor is the vehicle’s efficiency, which depends on the fuel cell technology and electric motor design. In general terms, an average hydrogen vehicle can consume approximately 0.05 to 0.1 kg of hydrogen per kilometer, translating to a consumption rate of about 50 to 100 km/kg.

4. Range and Tank Size

The range of a hydrogen car largely depends on the amount of hydrogen it can store in its fuel tank. Hydrogen vehicles typically have tanks that can hold 5 to 8 kg of high-pressure compressed hydrogen. With the average consumption rates mentioned earlier, this would result in a range of approximately 500 to 800 kilometers per full tank.

5. Refueling Infrastructure

The calculation of how much hydrogen a hydrogen car needs is also influenced by the availability of hydrogen refueling stations. As hydrogen refueling infrastructure expands, drivers have access to a more reliable supply of hydrogen, making the technology more practical and convenient.

6. Environmental and Driving Factors

The amount of hydrogen needed by a hydrogen car can also vary depending on environmental and driving conditions. Extreme temperatures and hilly terrain can affect vehicle performance and, therefore, hydrogen consumption. Drivers should consider these factors when planning long trips.

7. Future Outlook

Hydrogen vehicle technology continues to evolve. Advances in engine efficiency, hydrogen storage density, and refueling infrastructure can influence the amount of hydrogen required and the overall viability of this technology in the future.


Determining how much hydrogen a hydrogen car needs is a complex calculation that depends on several factors, including engine efficiency, consumption per kilometer, desired range, and available refueling infrastructure. As technology advances and hydrogen refueling infrastructure expands, hydrogen vehicles are likely to become more efficient and practical in terms of hydrogen consumption, potentially contributing to greater adoption of this technology in the future.

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