Norway opens first stretch of hydrogen highway

trafficMore than a dozen hydrogen-powered cars participated in a rally race of sorts to mark the opening of a 560-kilometre stretch of highway that is conveniently lined with hydrogen refilling stations for alternative fuel vehicles. The route runs along a scenic highway between Oslo and the North Sea oil town of Stavanger.

SIKUnews reports that Norway’s huge oil and gas company, StatoilHydro, has invested in several hydrogen filling stations along the route. This will make the drive very easy for cars that run on fuel cells, a real pioneering move on the part of the Norwegian fuel company.

Although hydrogen fuel cell cars are still in their early phases of development, they produce no emissions and are regarded as one of the cleanest vehicles in existence. The problem is that the fuel cells have a very short range capacity, so they need to refuel more frequently than regular vehicles.

Statoil is looking ahead, however, and is considering linking the highway to a similar hydrogen autobahn in northern Germany. California and Japan are two of the other places where hydrogen fuel stations can be found.

A Prius hydrogen powered car can travel up to 200 kilometres before it needs to be refuelled, and uses two kilograms of hydrogen gas to top up the tank. The hydrogen Prius (the original Prius is already the world’s most popular petrol/battery hybrid) has a top speed of 100 km/h.

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