Earth will kill itself one day. It will shrivel up and die due to misuse. We waste natural resources like we waste time in math class. There has to be an alternative to burning messy fuels. You can always use the sun, but if there is no sun out, you are stuck. You can use a hybrid, or a very economic car, but still you are using gas; so it isn’t the best, but it’s still better than a Hummer getting two miles per gallon. Still there has to be a better resource. That’s where hydrogen steps in. It comes from air, and air is free. It doesn’t produce a pollutant, and when you think of it, if everyone switched over oil wouldn’t be used as much, and the pollutants wouldn’t be produced. So the air would be cleaner, and clean air is going to heal the earth.

The first thing I have to know is how far we have come in hydrogen-using cars. Turns out many Japanese motor companies have started on it. Toyota has a car that may be out for production as soon as 2010. BMW has a hybrid running on a gas/hydrogen mix.

A good question to ask myself is why hydrogen? Simply, it is the cleanest thing to burn, while producing little or no leftover. Since 2/3 of the earth is water, and that water is mainly hydrogen, using hydrogen to power some energy cells would be simple, clean, and efficient. When hydrogen is used, only water is left. Since water can’t be used, or destroyed, we would never run out. Now you may ask, what if we completely dry up the freshwater supply, isn’t that the only thing that could work? No, it isn’t, you could use salt water, but instead of no leftover, you’d be left with salt, which could be returned to the giant salt redemption center. So technically we could have the possibility of going forever, replacing only spent fuel cells.

Using hydrogen as a fuel isn’t a new idea. The first fully documented case was thought to be as early as 1839, by Sir William Robert Grover, who invented the first way to use hydrogen. The way was a simple hydrogen fuel cell. and then powering it to move a gear, thinking that electricity could separate the hydrogen and oxygen in water, then creating a system that did the reverse, but combined the separated hydrogen and oxygen making more electricity. In 1874, Jules Verne wrote “The Mysterious Island” and probed the idea that “water will one day be employed as fuel, that hydrogen and oxygen which constitute it, used singly or together, will furnish an inexhaustible source of heat and light, an intensity of which coal is not capable.” Fast forward now to the 1960’s and NASA and the thought of hydrogen as rocket fuel for their ships. Since then they have been successful.

No you may think, how are these cars going to be put into work? Besides tiny, little, low-powered energy cells with just enough power to run a TV remote, there isn’t really a good way to use these things. If you want to use a huge energy cell that could work, the most common one to use is an internal combustion engine. These are the same engines that run off gas, but now, with slight, but expensive, modifications, the same engine would be cleaned, replaced with a few car battery sized fuel cells, and would run efficiently. There isn’t only one fuel cell either. There are many. These include solid-oxide, alkaline, phosphoric acid, and proton-exchange membrane are, The PEM fuel cells are the ones commonly used, and most preferred fuel cell because they operate at low temperatures, and have an almost built in surge protector, that is. reacting quickly in the amount of energy needed.

Currently, work is being done in the field of hydrogen efficient fuel cells. Honda has a gas electric, while BMW has a sedan that runs on hydrogen and gasoline, and Toyota is working on a hybrid. Hybrids are the efficient trend, but with so much work. Toyota plans to have a full fledged hydrogen powered car for 2010. By the looks of the prototype, this car will be ready to go public, and hey, maybe by then we should realize that we need to change our ways now, or we’ll wish we had later.


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