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Cars could run on hydrogen fuel made from air

Scientists have created a new way of producing hydrogen synthetic fuel using humid air


It might sound like something from Harry Potter, but scientists have developed a new method for producing hydrogen fuel by extracting water from air. This could see future cars running on literal air.

A team of scientists at the University of Melbourne set out to find a green hydrogen formulation, and amazingly they’ve succeeded in producing a synthetic fuel using only humid air.


Regular hydrogen fuel is touted as being environmentally friendly because it doesn’t release CO2, but it’s actually extracted through electrolysis of water and electricity. This requires large amounts of water (something we all know is in short supply at the moment) and rare metals.

If hydrogen could be captured using just hot air instead, then water supplies won't be depleted and hydrogen can be supplied to dry and remote regions using renewable energy. Minimal waste and reduced consumption of scarce resources is hugely important.


We aren’t physicists, but we’ve got the basic grasp of the experiment (we think). If you really want a deep dive into electrolysis, positive ions and negative molecules then be our guests, but for the purpose of understanding the type of fuel in your car, we can skip that lesson.

Using this new prototype, green hydrogen is harvested from humid air rather than water. The device absorbs the moisture in the air and gathers the hydrogen automatically, so you don't need huge supplies of water.


It sounds great, but you might be scratching your head trying to remember what hydrogen fuel is in the first place. Luckily, we've got an article putting hydrogen and synthetic fuels to the test.

Hydrogen fuel mixes with oxygen in a 'fuel stack' (cells) and transforms the chemical energy into electric energy, powering the battery and then the car motor. Off you go driving as normal, but with zero tailpipe emissions and only water as a waste product.

If the hydrogen pumped into the car is green hydrogen, then what goes in is even greener, and what comes out is as climate-friendly as you’re going to get.


As we turn towards greener transport options, hydrogen cars are yet to properly challenge electric cars, but this is an exciting development towards combating the effects of climate change.

While we can’t magic hydrogen fuel cars into mass production for you, we do have a huge range of electric cars here on cinch. These have serious environmental credentials, are majorly fun to drive and can save you money on running costs. Just head over to our online showroom to check them out.

By Freda Lewis-Stempel