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Hydrogen Powered Cars Essay

1556 words - 7 pages

Cars are a necessity in most parts of the world. People use them to travel and transport various goods from place to place but like most things cars have a dark side. They require a form of fuel to run. Today most cars run using gasoline or diesel, both petroleum based products. These fuels are awesome and have helped push society and provided a relatively inexpensive way to fuel vehicles without many of the side effects that come up when trying to find a good fuel source. However they do have some major issues that trouble many people. Some have started to search for an alternative source of fuel that will be able to accomplish all of our needs as humans without the effects of petroleum ...view middle of the document...

It doesn’t have any emissions unlike petroleum-based fuels! This means that Hydrogen could be the answer to being able to continue to have a large fleet of vehicles and yet at the same time help mother earth out a little bit to.
The first problem that we have run into is finding enough hydrogen to have a large enough supply to fuel all the cars the world demands for many years to come. There is an easy answer however: “Advanced water-splitting techniques that use electricity and some heat as energy sources are very energy-efficient, and might one day fit the bill” (schlapbach). We can use the ocean to theoretically have an unlimited supply of hydrogen fuel. Water or H20 is made up by two hydrogen and one oxygen atom. Through electrolysis, the process of running an electric current through something, we are able to strip the hydrogen and oxygen apart giving us the hydrogen fuel we need. It produces a large amount of hydrogen fairly quickly with not an extremely large price tag. It would take a major shift of focus and materials to obtain the operation and facilities it would take to produce enough hydrogen to run a large fleet of vehicles. However “The United States produces enough hydrogen to power 34 million cars” which is a quarter of all cars being driven in the US (Fitzgerald). This means that we already have the resources to cover a lot of cars if we just shift our focus. Plus it would buy us time as we tried to make the switch over to hydrogen. If hydrogen is to replace petroleum based fuels, then it’s a push most people would be willing to take because of the perks that come with using hydrogen.
Another problem that people have run into is being able to find a way to fit enough hydrogen fuel into a reasonably sized tank that is big enough to propel a car as far as society needs it to go. This would mean that we would need to fit enough fuel to propel a vehicle 300 miles minimum, which is the current acceptable travel range for cars (Satyaple). There are several different ways that we might achieve this. The first would be to compress enough hydrogen gas down to a level at which it would fit inside a 20 gallon tank. This is the average size of tank required for petrol vehicles to move the acceptable 300 miles (Satyaple). Trouble arrives however when tanks that are strong enough to hold gases under this kind of pressure cost a small fortune. When one of your goals is to make a vehicle that is affordable this is a huge problem. Another solution to the problem would be to freeze the hydrogen down to a temperature of –253 degrees Celsius at which point it turns in to liquid hydrogen (Satyaple). Liquid Hydrogen has around 30% the energy density of liquid fuel meaning it would require us to put around a 60-gallon fuel tank with a refrigeration system on most vehicles, which at this point is, unheard of on practical conventional cars (Satyple). The last way to condense the hydrogen down to a level that it might be usable is to use Destabilized...

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