Hydrogen Cars

Topics: Internal combustion engine, Fossil fuel, Hydrogen economy Pages: 5 (1549 words) Published: January 23, 2007
Hydrogen Automobiles
The effect of pollution that is emitted from vehicles is a serious concern in today's society. The cause of this pollution is the toxic emissions from current vehicles. This toxic emissions or pollution destroys the Earth's ozone layer or atmospheric gases Acknowledging these facts, many are very concerned with the condition of the Earth's atmospheric gases in the future. In just a very short time, scientists produced a new vehicle which only emits water out of its exhaust rather than carbon monoxide and other toxic pollutants in modern day internal combustion engines. The Hydrogen automobiles do not require gasoline or ethanol to function, but all they require in Hydrogen. As the name entails, Hydrogen automobiles use Hydrogen as its main source of power. Without the need of gasoline, America and many other countries would no longer be dependent upon the middle east to provide for our oil needs. Hydrogen automobiles are the future for automobiles because of its many political, economical, and environmental benefits. Tabitha Benbrook argues that "We could change the cars so that they use energy more efficiently, and pollute less. This could be done by using hydrogen as a fuel"(page 1)

In 1839, English inventor Sir William Grove reasoned from his experiments that it was possible for water to be split up into hydrogen and oxygen using electricity. In 1859, Ludwig Mond and Charles Langer attempted to make a fuel cell. In 1959, NASA selected fuel cells as the power generator of choice for its first manned space mission. It was selected instead of batteries, nuclear reactors, and solar power because of its size, weight, efficiency, and ability to operate in zero gravity. The first successfully working Hydrogen vehicles were made by Roger E. Billings in the 1960s. It is estimated that over a thousand hydrogen vehicles have been found in Germany after the Second World War. This was due to Germany's oil shortage during World War II.

Hydrogen was chosen out of many other elements because it is the lightest element. Two-thirds of the earth is covered in water so we will never run out of hydrogen. It is the most plentiful element in the Universe. Tabitha Benbrook says "There is not risk that we will ever run out of hydrogen" (page 3) Hydrogen is much cleaner compared to gasoline. When hydrogen is burned, the only byproduct is water vapor. Hydrogen is more efficient in the sense that less fuel would have to be used to generate the same power. Hydrogen puts less wear and tear on the cylinder walls of the engine. This is because it doesn't dissolve the lubricating oil. It high dispersal rate helps it mix with the air quickly and spread quickly in the engine so it combusts twice as fast as gasoline.

There are two methods in which Hydrogen is used as fuel. There is the combustion method and the fuel cell conversion method. In combustion, the hydrogen is oxidized or burned in engines. In the fuel cell conversion, the hydrogen is turned into electricity through fuel cells which then power an electric motor.

A fuel cell creates electricity through a reaction between hydrogen and oxygen as both gases pass through the cell. It consists of two electrodes, a negative anode and a positive cathode which are separated from each other by an ion performing electrolysis. The anode is where the hydrogen atoms react to form positive hydrogen ions and electrons. The hydrogen ions move through the electrolyte to the cathode where they combine with oxygen from air to for dihydrogen oxide. Otherwise known as water. The electrons flow from the anode to the cathode which in result, an electric current is produced. A picture of a fuel cell is shown below: 

Hydrogen vehicles may be only powered by Hydrogen, but you may ask where this Hydrogen is attained from. There are many methods of attaining Hydrogen. One such includes the use of petroleum gas, in biomass gasification Hydrogen can be attained. Another such...

Bibliography: 1. http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource
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