One of the biggest challenges facing the world today is the shortage of fossil fuels for energy production. Finding solutions to energy production that can be man made will benefit future generations and improve the quality of life in our country as well as the lives of those abroad. In America we use the greatest amount of energy per person of any country in the world. Even though we have tried to cut energy consumption and greenhouse gas emmission since the 1990’s we have steadily increased use. Since it is becoming more and more clear that American refuse to forgo creature comforts in order to help restore the environment we must find alternative energy sources that do not pollute the environment. Chemistry can provide solutions to these problems by utilizing the stored energy given off during reactions and then storing this energy for later use or using it directly to power vehicles or provide electricity for residential and commercial applications. I will provide a brief history of the development of hydrogen fuel cell technology, a brief overview of how a hydrogen fuel cell operates, and an analysis of the current research and development in the utilization of hydrogen fuel cell technology as a solution to this situation.
Hydrogen fuel cell research began in the early 1960’s when General Electric developed hydrogen fuel cells to be used to power the spaceships for NASA. Then in the 1970’s nafion was introduced by the Du Pont company for use as the polymer electrolyte and more companies joined in the development of hydrogen fuel cells. By the time President Bush announced the hydrogen fuel initiative in 2003 many companies had already begun development of hydrogen fuel cell technology. Since the inception of the hydrogen fuel initiative more than one billion dollars has been dedicated to hydrogen fuel cell research, this has led to the development of hydrogen powered vehicles. The hydrogen fuel works by converting stored chemical energy into...
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