The Hydrogen Fuel Cell: A Cleaner Future
In today’s fast paced world we try to find alternative methods for improving traditional things. Energy is one of these areas of exploration. With the dawn of the green movement we must find cleaner, more efficient and cost effective methods of powering our society. There are many methods that can be used to replace the traditional petroleum engine: bio-diesel, ethanol, solar power, and wind. There is another method that may be the answer, hydrogen fuel cells. Hydrogen fuel cells may be the answer to our alternative fuel needs.
The search for alternative sources of energy is not a new concept. It has been around for decades. Today there is a renewed motivation to nail down the best alternative. In 2003, President George W Bush sparked the current debate regarding new alternative methods. In his state of the union address he proposed 1.2 billion dollars in research funding so that America can lead the world in developing clean, hydrogen-powered automobiles (CNN). As gas prices continue to climb we are all searching for a better and cheaper way to power our vehicles. The pressure continues to mount as the economy grows weaker and the national debt grows larger. We search for methods without relying on foreign oil. Why hydrogen? What makes hydrogen fuel cells so appealing? Are there any negative sides to the use of hydrogen fuel cells? The point of this paper is to answer these questions and more.
A hydrogen fuel cell is an energy conversion device that generates electricity and heat by electrochemically combining a gaseous fuel (hydrogen) and an oxidant gas through electrodes and across an ion conducting electrolyte (Ahmad). Basically, it uses the energy of a chemical reaction to produce electricity. The oxidant gas mentioned is oxygen from the surrounding air and the hydrogen is converted from fossil fuels. Three components result from this process: water, heat, and electricity. The...