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Research Paper On Alternative Fuels

885 words - 4 pages

For a long time gasoline has dominated our world. It has been only now in the late 20th century to now that new fuels have surfaced to challenge the might of gasoline. One type of alternative energy that can be used instead of gasoline is hydrogen fuel cells. Ever since 2003 when President Bush announced the Hydrogen Fuel Initiative car companies have been trying to develop Hydrogen fuel cell cars that are cost effective and practical. Alone the USA has invested billions of dollars on fuel cell research and development.
Hydrogen fuel cells are practical because it can generate power efficiently and without pollution. Unlike gasoline when it was first used as fuel for cars it had so many pollutants other than CO2. The very first gasoline powered car was made in 1886 with the technology for the internal combustion engine being more than 200 years old. The pollutants of the first car were dangerous, such pollutants being H2O, N2, CO and NO (they are also considered volatile organic compounds). Hydrogen fuel cell technology works similar to a battery where instead holding the charge it creates the charge by combining hydrogen and oxygen to make water.
Hydrogen fuel cells are there for efficient because the only so called pollutant is water. Hydrogen fuel cells are membrane fuel cells that convert hydrogen and oxygen together to make water and during this process it produces electricity so the fuel cells capture the energy created and used to power the car and all its devices. This so called battery has too electrodes an anode (Positive current in) and a cathode (positive current out) separated by a membrane. Each element passes over there corresponding node hydrogen over the anode so it can be separated from H2 to 2H+ so that electrons can be absorbed by the node and used as energy. Then the 2H+ passes through the membrane and has a reaction with Oxygen and the electrons that were absorbed by the anode to make water. Theoretically this process can go on forever given that you can continually oxidize water by using less energy than can be created from using the fuel cell. Unfortunately currently this proses is still far from becoming a reality.
The problem is finding a catalyst to lower the amount of energy needed to split the water molecule. Two catalyst that are plausible are Chlorophyll and a new artificial molecule known as Rubippy. They both work as a catalyst to turn water into its basic elements but both are hard to produce on a large scale and they...

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