Hydrogen: the Fuel of the Future? Essay

2083 Words 9 Pages
Hydrogen: the Fuel of the Future?

The Problem:

For years, United States citizens have been using natural gases and oils to power their cars. While doing so we have also been polluting our environment, making ourselves dependant on other regions of the world, and depleting our oil reserves. Rory Sporrows of “Geographical” wrote, “The car is responsible for combusting eight million barrels of oil every day, contributing to nearly a quarter of total global greenhouse emissions and causing major increases in bronchial diseases like asthma and emphysema.” (2001) Oil is not a renewable resource. One day it will run out. The graph to the left depicts that in these times in which we should be conserving what we have; we are doing exactly
…show more content…
They have potential to produce hydrogen without using any electricity. Scientists for the past sixty years have known that a certain kind of algae, Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, produces trace amounts of hydrogen gas. Tasios Malis, a professor at the University of California, and his colleagues have figured out that by starving the algae of sulphur the hydrogen production increases by almost four hundred percent. The algae plant can sustain a four-day period of this starved state, but then must be revitalized. The algae can be cycled between a recuperated and sulphur-starved state several times. Malis also estimated that, once optimized, a square meter pond of the algae could produce up to twenty-five grams of hydrogen per day, enough to power a mid size, fuel cell car about three kilometers or just less than two miles (Baulch, 2001). It’s interesting but, for the most part, unlikely for application.

When the pure hydrogen, shown on the left side of the diagram to the left, is administered into the hydrogen fuel cell it is passed over an electrically charged platinum catalyst with an anode on one side and a cathode on the other side. The electrons, which are unable to pass through the electrolyte (Proton exchange membrane), collect at the cathode and are then transferred to a capacitor to be stored for use (Motavalli, 2000). The positively charged hydrogen atoms pass through the electrolyte

Related Documents