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Alternatives To Internal Combustion Engines Essay

943 words - 4 pages

In the past decade there has been a great deal of worrying about what will happen when the world’s oil supply becomes depleted. The main reason for concern is that almost all of the automobiles in use now require an oil based gasoline to run their internal-combustion engines. In the next few decades it is predicted that all of the world’s oil will have already been mined, and combustion engines will be unable to function. For this reason many companies such as Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Chrysler, Toyota, BMW, and others have started to create engines that do not require oil based gasoline. Such engines include the battery-powered engine and the hydrogen-powered engine. These engines require different fuels and all have their own good and bad qualities. This essay will describe these engines and how they work.

The battery-powered engine is run using solely battery power. The battery-powered engine, along with all the other engines mentioned in this essay pollute much less than the combustion engine. The battery-powered engine is more efficient than the combustion engine for a variety of reasons. One reason includes how the electric motor is directly connected to the wheels; this lets the vehicle consume no energy while the car is at rest or coasting. Another way the battery engine is more efficient than the combustion engine is the fact that the battery engine converts more than 90 percent of the storage cell energy into driving force, while the combustion engine converts only a mere 25 percent of the energy in a liter of gasoline into driving force.

The battery-powered engine also has its drawbacks. What is keeping this engine from being mass-produced is the lowness of energy storage that it has. Today’s technology only allows battery-powered vehicles to drive around 120 miles until its needs to be recharged. This number will obviously increase as new technology is invented. Along with the small distance the battery engine can operate, its takes several hours to recharge. The battery-powered engine cannot operate under the same rechargeable battery its entire life; the battery must eventually be replaced. The battery is expensive, but does not need changing very often. The price of gasoline it requires to run a combustion car for as long as it takes a battery-powered car to run-down a battery, is about equal to the price of a battery.

Primarily hydrogen cells fuel the hydrogen-powered engine. The fuel cells inside the engine use the hydrogen to generate electricity to power the vehicle. The engine uses the hydrogen to power the car in a very unique way. The hydrogen, along with oxygen is brought into opposite sides of the fuel cell. A plastic membrane separates the two. A metallic coating on the plastic membrane acts as a catalyst to separate the hydrogen electron from...

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