I am an ecologist and I'm sure that sciences coupled with restraint could really help the planet.
For me, it's sure that electric cars with time will clearly be only better than actual thermic vehicles, but 10 ten years ago it was really different.
The cars weren't as powerful, they couldn't roll far, it needed a lot of polluting components and we're god damn expensive. While now they are like the most powerful cars, in few years they'll be able to make bigger distances than thermic cars (Exemple Roadster 2 announced with 1000km). All the most of the polluting component have been drastically reduced and some even removed and replaced with other with cleaner ones.
And what about hydrogen ?
You could imagine that because I'm an electric car supporter, I would hate hydrogen just for that. That may be true but at first I was really confident in those cars. But first do you know how it works ?
On those cars, there is basically a fuel cell (I don't know if it's the right name, I'm french and translated it on the net) that transforms liquid hydrogen with water by adding Oxygen in the molecules, by doing that the cell produces electricity that runs the car.
So basically, this is an electric car be aide Hydrogen isn't an energy but only a means of storage. They replaced the battery with hydrogen canisters.
That way, there is still no CO² produced during driving, only water, what could be wrong ?
There are some things that are already a problem.
First of all, it always takes energy to get hydrogen, from water, methane or from the Humidity of the air. From methane it even produced CO2, just a little less than driving with a thermic car, and for now 95% of the hydrogen in the world is from Methane.
After that, you'll need to compress the gaseous hydrogen to make it liquid, this also costs energy to make. And then you have to keep the liquid hydrogen at a low temperature in the canisters to stay liquid, which also constantly costs energy until we finished it.
I really don't like those arguments.
Why ? Because at first, even 10 years ago, the electric cars were really energy consuming, that was really expensive. Just look at Tesla model 3. Its first price was around $80 000 because that's the price they needed to set to still have benefits. 2 and a half years later the car is better but they sell it at only $40 000 because they optimized their factory, consume less energy to build them. Just because they build it faster and they improved their technologies.
I believe that less energy will be made out of methane, there will be ways to create it with less energy. (There are already plans to produce it only with excess from renewable energy.) That would probably be easier to convert it into a liquid and stake it in the future, lowering all the energy need to have this. The hydrogen Cars are exactly where were the electric ones 10-15 earlier I think, only few people believe in it, and we will all see if they were right only in few decades.
So, why do I think it's not a good idea ?
I just told you there will be progress's that will make it a great source of energy,
First of all. All the problems I will talk about are not real problems since there is not too much people using these cars. It becomes a problem only when hydrogen Cars become frequent and (if I remember the right digits) more than ~12% of the population use it.
Water is an important ressource, a lot of countries are already lacking it, because of the weather in hot counties like a lot in Africa, or because of private companies like some places where Coca cola owns most of the water tables making this drink cheaper than water.
While we were saying the same for oil, if we don't have oil, we stop our economy and a lot of people will dit because we can't make enough food etc.. if we don't have enough water, we die and can't make food at all. For sure we Will never reach this point, but that would be thousands of tons of water less in the rivers, ocean etc because it's stuck in cars or any fuel station, even if it's freed when driving.
Transportation will be complicated. We will probably not be able to use the current fuel pipeline. Hydrogen can make way bigger explosion that fuel so it will need stronger infrastructure, that would take a long time and a lot of money to build it.
Water vapour is a green house effect gas. And the cars produces steam and not liquid water. With time the vapour condensate and produces liquid water but it's still hard to know if with too much cars the air will not be saturated in water and make it worst than CO².
It can help as much as it can destroy. To make it really clean and helpful for the climat some more improvement and calculation will be needed. Creating hydrogen from humidity in area that are too wet because of climate change would be great. It would also need to export some of it to reduce the amount of water in circulation in this area.
Some areas that became desert because of climate change could by the way use that excess of hydrogen and bring with it humidity in a place that clearly lacks water.
But we will really need to have places that create as much as they use Hydrogen, because changing the humidity of an area can be really dangerous. The production of hydrogen will absolutely need to be decentralized and produced a little everywhere instead of 3 factories in a country. To avoid having the area of the factories becoming deserts and the rest of the country becoming places with floods, regular rainstorms, and maybe tsunamis because there is way too much water in the air.
And I'm almost sure that this would be a real problem if hydrogen Cars became frequent. Because we are telling a lot of solution to fight the climate change and a lot of people don't care. There are easy steps about car that can be more efficient than buying an electric car.
Drive better to save fuel, don't buy a new car if you don't need it. And if you can, buy it second hand. If you destroyed your car, do whatever you can to recycle it. Some people are complaining about the copper in electric cars, just in France in 1 year we destroy enough cars to create more than 400k electric cars without taking copper from the soil. It's almost 2 times how much cars Tesla sold in the world last year.
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