Hydrogen Fuel Cell Cars
Imagine a world filled with people not dependent on fossil fuels for their transportation needs.
Now, wake up from the dream and remember that gasoline remains the predominant fossil fuel used for transportation. Remember also that other fossil fuels such as natural gas continue to be promoted as the transportation fuels of the future.
The recent push for greater CNG (compressed natural gas) vehicle production in the United States, for example, is driven partly by the United State's dependence on Middle East oil and partly by the emergence of a new technology (hydraulic fracturing) for producing domestic natural gas.
While most Americans find it reasonable to consider replacing natural gas for oil because of the security concerns generated by their reliance on foreign fuel sources, the environmental problems (air and water quality) associated with natural gas development, continue to weigh heavily in their calculations regarding the logic of trading one type of fossil fuel dependence for another.
As a clean and abundant fuel source, hydrogen fueled transportation could be the wave future, with one caveat. Like people, hydrogen has a long history of dependence on fossil fuels.
Hearkening back to Chemistry 101 reminds us that hydrogen, or the big H, stands first among the world's known chemical elements.
While its abundance around the world is well documented, equally well documented is its propensity to disdain the true pioneer spirit of American individualism. In almost all cases, hydrogen never goes it along, opting instead to cooperate with other chemical elements to form something else.
Therefore, getting hydrogen in its individual, big H form, represents the basic puzzle in need of solving in order to reach the dream world consisting of people non-dependent on fossil fuels for their transportation needs.
Today's lack of hydrogen fueled transportation rests largely on this puzzle. Hydrogen fueled transportation also runs into another fossil fuel roadblock.
Consider, for example, the word hydrocarbons as an alternative name for fossil fuels such as oil and gas, and you quickly come to the realization that fossil fuels basically consist of hydrogen and carbon.
Using hydrocarbons as the source for getting hydrogen to fuel transport vehicles seems like little more than re-arranging the deck chairs of the Titanic in the search for a clean, abundant transportation fuel.
Fortunately hydrogen is so abundant that it also teams up with another element, oxygen, your basic H2O, to form water. Which translates into the proposition that one need only jump in the water rather than re-arrange the deck chairs of the Titanic in order to discover a clean transportation fuel.
The term hydrogen electrolysis means the process of electrifying water to free the hydrogen for use as an independent energy source. Scientists around the world are currently researching ways to use renewable sources of electricity to for the process.
© 2011. Patricia A. Michaels. All Rights Reserved.