A Look At Commercial Hydrogen Cars And The Hydrogen Economy
At last governments across the globe are seeking ways not to be dependant on fossil fuels. Where hydrogen is in this search is debatable at best.
Will it be the alternative energy
that makes it happen?
There are several ways hydrogen is being used to aide in our independence from foreign oil. Commercial hydrogen fuel cell cars can be purchased.
Also, ther are hydrogen cars that burn pure hydrogen used in internal combustion engines (ICE). Recently there is also a "hydrogen-boosted gasoline engine" It offers the prospect of an economic way to produce a small amount of hydrogen from gasoline with an on-board system designed to do so.
There are also hybrid cars that switch back and forth from gasoline to hydrogen ICE. Some use compressed H2, while others use liquid.
As most of you know, hydrogen is the most common element in the universe. But hydrogen does not naturally exist on earth in its elemental form.
Scientists and engineers must create pure hydrogen from hydrogen compounds, including fossil fuels or water. You have to put forth energy in order to extract hydrogen from these compounds. The necessary energy may come in the form of heat, electricity or maybe even light.
The Advantages To Hydrogen CarsNo Greenhouse Gases
If the hydrogen is derived from the electrolysis of water, then there are no added greenhouse gases to the environment.
This is an awesome rotation, electrolysis creates hydrogen from water, and the hydrogen recombines with oxygen to produce water and power.Eliminates Car Pollution Caused By Fossil Fuels
The only byproduct is water when hydrogen is used in a fuel cell; the same is true with hydrogen on demand.
All you need is electricity and water and you can create hydrogen anywhere.No More Dependency On Foreign Oil
With hydrogen cars we can finally break free from the Middle East and their oil reserves. Not to mention the impact this will have on saving lives in our military.
The Big Questions For The Hydrogen MarketWhere Does The Hydrogen Come From?
Its not like we can drill for it like oil. So, we are left with two choices:Reform the fossil fuels with a piece of equipment called a fuel processor, or "reformer". Natural gas and oil contain hydrocarbons, which are molecules consisting of hydrogen and carbon. You can split the hydrogen off the carbon in a hydrocarbon fairly easy and then use the hydrogen.
This would still cut out our car pollution but it does nothing for our independency on foreign oil or our greenhouse gas problem.
Most of the "fuel cell powered cars", that car companies are making, plan on acquiring the hydrogen needed from
reforming fossil fuel. Meaning the hydrogen station would be using the reform method to acquire the hydrogen needed.
The only way we will have a pure hydrogen economy is when the hydrogen comes from a renewable source. If we continue to use fossil fuel, we are still releasing carbon into the environment.
So that we halt releasing carbon deposits into the atmosphere, we have to stop using the fossil fuels all together. Having sufficient electricity to separate hydrogen from water, and generating that electricity (without fossil fuels) is the challenge.
We do not have hydrogen stations everywhere, like gas stations to power a cars fuel cell. With hydrogen on demand however, there is no need for hydrogen stations that require power stations for generating electricity or the use of reforming fossil fuels.
Approximately sixty eight percent of the electricity created in the U.S. right now comes from natural gas or coal.
If we eliminate fossil fuel with hydrogen cars, the electrical generating capacity will have to double. The reason; all the energy we are using now for transportation that currently comes from oil, will have to be replaced with electrically generated hydrogen.
In short until we can generate electricity with probably nuclear power or solar power, fuel cell powered cars will not replace gasoline.
How Do We Transport And Store Pure Hydrogen?
Storing hydrogen is tricky because it has a low volumetric energy density. Hydrogen is 2700 times less energy dense than gasoline and 3.2 times less energy dense than natural gas. It contains 3.4 times more energy than gasoline on a weight basis.
Hydrogen must be made more energy dense to be useful for transportation. It can be stored in 3 ways, compression, liquefying or chemically combined.
You can transport hydrogen by ships, railways and trucks or by pipeline. Whatever the method, it is very expensive.
Unfortunately it looks like we are a long way off from having a pure commercial hydrogen cars market until we can solve alot of these issues.
But you can take the vehicle(s) you own now and turn them into a hydrogen hybrid by installing a hydrogen generator, and you can do it safely and easily.
Don't wait for big corporations - start saving money now, improve your vehicle emissions and increasing your horsepower.
Learn here about hydrogen fuel cell cars, how they work and their efficiency.
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