The Future Fuel for Transportation

Topics: Natural gas, Hydrogen, Hydrogen vehicle Pages: 3 (956 words) Published: June 6, 2008
Fuel is one of the important resources in our society. We use the fuels to support our living, produce electricity, heat homes, and operate machinery. Since the fuel is a limited resource, the fuel scarcity will be a big issue in the future. The price of the gasoline is currently on the rise. NASCAR cut the volume of fuel cell from twenty gallons to thirteen gallons each car. There is a high demand for a new energy. After the issue of fuel crisis was brought up, the society started to be interested in hydrogen. Hydrogen is the strongest candidate for the fuel of the future. Hydrogen can be used for transportation more efficiently, safely, and effectively. Also they are environmentally friendly.

Since hydrogen is not a fundamental fuel, using hydrogen as energy source is a difficult subject. Hydrogen is a magnificent fuel because only water is used to operate the fuel cell, but it is costly to produce and difficult to store. Two of the methods of producing hydrogen are by reforming natural gas, or electrolysis of water. Reforming natural gas is a method to produce hydrogen by exposing natural gas to high temperature steam, and convert carbon monoxide with steam to produce additional hydrogen and carbon dioxide. The production process of electrolysis is to use electric energy to split water into hydrogen and oxygen gas. Two of the methods to store hydrogen are compressed gas storage tanks, or liquid hydrogen. Compressed gas storage tanks are the storage tanks that can hold hydrogen at high pressures. Compression of hydrogen into liquid hydrogen enables the storage and transportation of larger quantity of hydrogen.

Producing hydrogen requires more energy than burning the hydrogen product. For reforming natural gas method, it requires 1200 to 1400 Btu, British Thermal Units, of natural gas or electricity to produce 1000 Btu of hydrogen, which is inefficient. Electrolysis method needs even more energy than reforming natural gas. It is...
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