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Hydrogen Fuel: How Hydrogen Can Be Used to Propel a Vehicle Report


Abstract

Hydrogen is the simplest element with only a single proton in each atom. Hydrogen also makes the most abundant gas in the universe and this makes its new use for propelling vehicles viable. It can be produced through steam reforming or electrolysis.

Steam reforming is cheap but releases green house gases, while electrolysis is expensive with no emissions. Hydrogen fuels can be used to make fuel cells, which convert chemical reactions into electrical energy. This energy can be stored and used to power electric motors and thus propel vehicles.

Introduction

Most vehicles that use our roads utilize fossil fuels, and with the likely changes due to climatic change and the gradual global warming, studies have shown that use of alternative fuel could propel our vehicles. Among the fuel tested in alternative energy is electricity and hydrogen, among others. The latter being an energy carrier as the former, which is secondary energy source.

Hydrogen is useful as a source of compact energy in batteries and fuel cells. Several companies are making their way into hydrogen fuel and are continually trying out ways of efficiently exploiting its potentials. This paper will try to explore how hydrogen can be used to propel a vehicle (Fueleconomy, 2011, p. 1).

Process

Hydrogen refers to the simplest element with only a single proton for each atom. Hydrogen also makes the most abundant gas in the universe and this makes its new use viable. The sun is considered as a giant ball consisting of helium and hydrogen gases.

A process called fusion is believed to occur at the sun’s core to give off radiant energy. Hydrogen, being an energy carrier is separated from gas molecules, biomass, or water by steam reforming as well as electrolysis. An example of hydrogen production process is as shown below (Alternative Energy, 2011, p. 1-3).

An example of hydrogen production process.

Source: Alternative Energy

Steam reforming is the most cost effective method of producing hydrogen and is estimated to account for about 95% of hydrogen produced, in the U.S. It separates hydrogen from methane, although this results in green house gases, which is faulted for global warming.

On the other hand, electrolysis does not create emissions, but is very expensive. New technologies such as nanotechnologies are currently being tested for efficiency and cost reduction (Alternative Energy, 2011, p. 1-3).

Machine

Most hydrogen produced in the United States is usually used for refining metals, treating metals as well as in food processing. However, its use has shifted to energy fuel, beginning with NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration). It has severally been utilized in space programs to lift space shuttles. In addition, its fuel cells have been used to power electrical systems of the shuttles (Alternative Energy, 2011, p. 1-3).

Hydrogen fuel cells can be used to produce electricity, and these can power electric cars. Currently, there are over 300 hydrogen-powered vehicles in States, the majority of which are automobiles and buses powered through electric motors. They store and convert hydrogen liquid or gas into electricity for use as a fuel cell. In the process, no pollution is released to the atmosphere (Alternative Energy, 2011, p. 1-3).

Object

To explore how hydrogen fuel can be used to power a vehicle and to determine its viability.

Theory

Hydrogen is the simplest atom with one proton, and forms the majority gas in space, it is very light and this accounts for its existence in compound. The sun is believed to consist of hydrogen and helium gases. Until recently, hydrogen has been tested as a fuel cell for Aviation in the United States, and produced for use as a refining, treating and processing agent.

Hydrogen is produced by either steam reforming method or electrolysis. The latter is very expensive but creates no pollution to the environment while, the former is cheap but pollutant.

Over 95% of hydrogen produced in the United States is done through steam reforming, which separates hydrogen from hydrocarbons of methane. This results in the release of green house gases, which is faulted for global warming (Alternative Energy, 2011, p. 1-3).

The United States produces around nine million metric tons of hydrogen every year. Such amounts of hydrogen are capable of serving between twenty and thirty million vehicles. The States of California, Texas and Louisiana leads the pack in hydrogen production. Fuel cells made from hydrogen mix with oxygen, and the resulting product is electricity and water as well as heat.

Electric cars can therefore be powered by these hydrogen fuel cells. The fuel cells are usually compared to batteries as they have the capability of converting chemical reaction energy into electricity. As long as hydrogen is supplied, fuel cells will keep producing electricity. These fuel cells are usable in propelling vehicles as they power electric motors (Alternative Energy, 2011, p. 1-3).

Concept

Hydrogen is mostly found in compound forms, and is readily abundant in the atmosphere. It is formed through the process of either steam reforming or in some cases, electrolysis. Once produced, it can be used to create electricity through fuel cells, which convert chemical reaction to electricity. The fuel cells can then power electric motors, thereby propelling electric vehicles (EnergyKids, 2011, p. 1).

Technical explanation

To propel an electric vehicle, the motors need to be powered. Moreover, to power the motors, we need mechanical energy, which can be created by electric energy. Electric energy is generated and stored in batteries, and since hydrogen fuel cells serves this purpose, Hydrogen fuel cells can be used to power electric motors, which in turn propel vehicles.

In essence, hydrogen powered fuel cells provides the energy required to propel the vehicles. Since hydrogen can be produced without emissions, and the process of propelling a vehicle produces no emissions, hydrogen fuel is environment friendly (EnergyKids, 2011, p. 1).

Summary

Hydrogen is the most abundant of gases in space. The sun is believed to compose mainly of hydrogen and helium gas. It is lighter than air and is found in compounds. Its formation can be done through the process of steam reforming or in some cases, electrolysis.

The latter is expensive but produces no emissions while the former is cheap but releases green house gases. Hydrogen can be used to make fuel cells that store electric energy and are usable for powering electric motors, which propel vehicles. It is eco-friendly (Macrae & Cooper, 2011, p. 1).

Conclusion

Hydrogen fuel can be used to propel vehicles; this is possible through hydrogen fuel cells, which are capable of powering electric motors that in turn propel the vehicles. Hydrogen fuel is a clean energy (Macrae & Cooper, 2011, p. 1).

Reference List

Alternative Energy. 2011. . Alternative Energy News. Web.

EnergyKids. 2011. . U.S. Energy information Administration. Web.

Fueleconomy. 2011. . Fueleonomy.gov. Web.

Macrae, F. & Cooper, R., 2011. . Mail Online. Web.

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IvyPanda. (2019, August 13). Hydrogen Fuel: How Hydrogen Can Be Used to Propel a Vehicle. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/hydrogen-fuel-how-hydrogen-can-be-used-to-propel-a-vehicle-report/

Work Cited

"Hydrogen Fuel: How Hydrogen Can Be Used to Propel a Vehicle." IvyPanda, 13 Aug. 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/hydrogen-fuel-how-hydrogen-can-be-used-to-propel-a-vehicle-report/.

1. IvyPanda. "Hydrogen Fuel: How Hydrogen Can Be Used to Propel a Vehicle." August 13, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/hydrogen-fuel-how-hydrogen-can-be-used-to-propel-a-vehicle-report/.


Bibliography


IvyPanda. "Hydrogen Fuel: How Hydrogen Can Be Used to Propel a Vehicle." August 13, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/hydrogen-fuel-how-hydrogen-can-be-used-to-propel-a-vehicle-report/.

References

IvyPanda. 2019. "Hydrogen Fuel: How Hydrogen Can Be Used to Propel a Vehicle." August 13, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/hydrogen-fuel-how-hydrogen-can-be-used-to-propel-a-vehicle-report/.

References

IvyPanda. (2019) 'Hydrogen Fuel: How Hydrogen Can Be Used to Propel a Vehicle'. 13 August.

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