CEP Clean Energy Partnership CEP-FAQ
CEP Clean Energy Partnership CEP-FAQ

FAQ – Key questions and answers at a glance

We have compiled the most frequently asked questions from many conversations and encounters, and answered them with our positions in mind.

If you don’t find what you’re looking for here, please feel free to send your questions to us using the contact form.

Why hydrogen as a fuel?

The European Union, together with the G8 members, agreed to reduce CO2 emissions by 80 percent by 2050. Increasing road traffic is regarded as one of the main sources of emissions, and it is estimated that 95 percent of it must be converted to alternative drives in order to achieve the target. Hydrogen as an alternative fuel can make a crucial contribution to this. The operation of fuel cell vehicles produces no local CO2 emissions, only a little water vapour. Depending on the size of the fuel tank, the vehicles already have ranges of between 500 and 700 km. The refuelling process takes 3 to 5 minutes.

What is the difference between electric and hydrogen cars?

Fuel-cell vehicles – colloquially also called hydrogen cars – have an electric motor powered by a fuel cell, instead of an internal combustion engine. In the fuel cell, hydrogen and oxygen react in a chemical process. This releases the energy stored in the hydrogen as electricity, which drives the electric motor. The by-product of the electrochemical process is water, which is discharged through the exhaust pipe in the form of a small amount of water vapour. So the fuel-cell car is also an electric car with a better range than purely battery-powered electric vehicles.

Are hydrogen cars safe?

As with all vehicles, a comprehensive set of precautionary measures for the event of an accident is in place for hydrogen vehicles, otherwise the vehicles would not be allowed on the road. The fuel tanks are typically designed with safety factors of above 2 with regard to the operating pressure, and thus have a high safety margin if, for instance, a traffic accident occurs. Unlike a petrol or kerosene tank, a high-pressure hydrogen tank never contains oxygen– so no detonation/explosion can occur.

Hydrogen is no more dangerous than other energy sources. Any leaking hydrogen evaporates immediately. If, in a worst-case scenario, the hydrogen ignites, it burns upwards very quickly. It creates no dangerous heat radiation above the accident site, as is petrol or kerosene do. Hydrogen is nontoxic, and hydrogen causes no environmental pollution in the event of an accident.

How do I refuel a hydrogen car?

Customers at hydrogen filling stations will not notice much of a difference; refuelling hydrogen is not at all complicated. The process is similar to conventional refuelling and involves manually inserting the nozzle of the fuel pump into the filler neck. The differences result from the high volatility of hydrogen, its low temperatures, and the high filling pressures. Thus, the nozzle and tank stub are connected using a coupling that is pressure-, gas- and temperature-tight. Further information on this subject can be found in the H2 Technology section.

What range and performance do fuel cell vehicles have?

Within the Clean Energy Partnership demonstration project, various automotive partners have tested vehicles that are close to series production, and have brought their first serially produced vehicles onto the road. Fuel-cell vehicles now have a range of 500 to 700 km. You can find an overview of the CEP vehicle fleet in the H2 Mobility section.

Is it already possible to buy hydrogen cars?

The first serially produced vehicles are already available in the marketplace, usually as a lease. A filling station network is being built. To accelerate the market introduction of fuel-cell vehicles, strategic collaborations were agreed between the major carmakers.




The Clean Energy Partnership is one of the most important international projects to test hydrogen as a fuel. It revolves around the development of technical standards – from production to swift, safe fuelling to the operation of hydrogen-powered vehicles.

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