The only viable alternatives to hydrocarbon fuels for vehicles are batteries and hydrogen/fuel cell propulsion systems.
The talk will start with a general survey of how the hydrogen/fuel cell system would work and a general comparison between its current status vis a vis battery propulsion.
The car industry is planning to produce significant numbers of prototype vehicles that will be marketed in regions that have invested in hydrogen filling systems - in 2014 according to the relevant Memorandum of Understanding.
This will be some three years after the equivalent agreement for electric vehicles. Both systems have advantages and disadvantages.
For (Li-ion) batteries, the advantage is the ready availability of electricity - particularly for overnight charging.
The disadvantage is the limited range - around 100 miles at present - and the cost of the Li batteries. For hydrogen/PEM fuel cell systems, high pressure hydrogen gas fuel systems are planned for the first generation and it seems likely that full range performance (300 miles) will be available.
Just as Li supplies could become a problem for Li batteries, so could platinum group metal catalysts for fuel cell membranes.
Safety is a problem for both systems, because even though they should probably be safer than petrol, significant accidents at an early stage could have a very negative effect.
Significant materials physics research has been devoted to the improvement of the batteries and the hydrogen storage system.
The talk will conclude with a discussion of this work in connection with the H/FC system.
Lecture starts at 18:30 with refreshments served from 18:00.