Hydrogen Fuel Cell Research Paper

Topics: Hydrogen vehicle, Fuel cell, Hydrogen station Pages: 2 (841 words) Published: May 18, 2011
An arising problem in today’s world is the destruction of the ozone layer because of the emissions and harmful gases that vehicles are giving off. Forget ethanol or biodiesel. The next big thing in automotive fuel may very well be hydrogen. Automakers rapidly are closing in on making hydrogen fuel cell vehicles an everyday fact of life, with several test models set to debut over the next few years. Hydrogen fuel cells to power vehicles are desirable, experts say, because hydrogen is a renewable fuel that can be used to create electricity to run cars. A chemical reaction between oxygen and hydrogen produces the electric power, and when pure hydrogen is used, the only emission from the tailpipe is harmless water vapor. Many people are asking, “Why fuel cells?” The gasoline engine in a conventional car is less than 20% efficient in converting the chemical energy in gasoline into power that moves the vehicle, under normal driving conditions. Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, which use electric motors, are much more energy efficient and use 40-60 percent of membrane to the other side of the cell, the stream of negatively-charged electrons follows an external circuit to the cathode. This flow of electrons is electricity that can be used to do work, such as power a motor. On the other side of the cell, oxygen gas, typically drawn from the outside air, flows through channels to the cathode. When the electrons return from doing work, they react with oxygen and the hydrogen protons (which have moved through the membrane) at the cathode to form water. This union is an exothermic reaction, generating heat that can be used outside the fuel cell. The future of hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles depends on advances in four areas: the hydrogen source, the distribution infrastructure, the on-board fuel tank and the on-board fuel cell. Hydrogen must be made from carbon-free renewable sources before fuel-cell vehicles can make a dent in the climate problem. One idea is to make the hydrogen...
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