Hydrogen Fuel Cell Cars

12.03.2014 · Posted in Uncategorized

Studies assessing the worth of battery powered vehicles are underway as a result of the development of hydrogen fuel cell technology in cars. Now it may scare you to think that Hydrogen, the most abundant element on earth, and also one of the most flammable, is being contained in a car. However, hydrogen cars are “headed to the showroom” after millions of dollars in research and hours were put in. According to the article published in the New York Times on November 18th, called A Road Test of Alternative Fuel Vision, Toyota is introducing a sedan called Mirai that is hydrogen powered. The Japanese are taking huge strides to build a market for these cars such as building fueling stations, and setting a price for potential buyers ($57,500). This price may turn people away, but the company realizes that it will lose money before making a profit. The same happened with the Prius, which now is a very marketable vehicle; it has had great success.

 

This is a model car. The yellow tank stores hydrogen fuel under high pressure. Above that is the battery that stores energy from deceleration. In front of the tank is the fuel cell stack and at the very front of the car is the motor that runs on the electricity from the fuel cell stack and the battery.

The argument against hydrogen powered cars has to do with the way hydrogen is isolated (mostly by stripping it from natural gas molecules). But in this process, carbon dioxide is yielded as a byproduct. Can you see how Hydrogen fuel cells would be counterproductive? The more friendly, but also more expensive way, is to split water using solar powered electrolyzers. As renewable energies are developed, this process becomes more economically feasible to the point where hydrogen powered vehicles may be more beneficial than battery electric cars. First of all, hydrogen fuel cells are able to power larger and more diverse species of car (The prius is relatively small). They also Fuel up at a rate equivalent to gasoline cars. That is just amazing. And ” a kilogram of hydrogen contains as much chemical energy as a gallon of gasoline.” Cars that have hydrogen fuel cells will definitely go the distance in terms of mileage, monetary value, and environmental benefits.

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This technology is truly revolutionary because having hydrogen fuel would significantly reduce carbon emissions and produce water as a byproduct. In another sense, it would enable us to turn our waste into energy as well. The article states that some developed hydrogen stations withdraw hydrogen from the hydrogen produced at waste water treatment plants! It would be nice to reduce or reuse some of the waste that our industrial nation has produced. Additionally, it is so important to look for alternatives to gasoline and diesel fuel because one gallon of gasoline can produce 20 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. At that rate, the future of the earth looks very grim. But, what I learned from this article, is that good things are currently happening. There are drawbacks and benefits, but as technologies develop, anything can become possible.

I suggest looking more into this new technology, and forming an opinion of your own. The link to the article is below.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/18/science/earth/hydrogen-cars-join-electric-models-in-showrooms.html?_r=0

Elaina McDowell

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