Kyle Explains: Hydrogen Power
I attempt to explain complicated things
Hydrogen power is newer technology. While introduced only recently to the car world, this alternative fuel may be the future. There isn’t a lot of hydrogen readily available on earth, but the process of extracting energy from it produces water which is a huge difference from what generally comes out of cars' tailpipes. Not to mention large quantities of hydrogen are not hard to create, while hydrogen is not readily available, it is the most common element on earth. This means that we can use more of it at a time and have a lower effect on the planet.
A hydrogen fuel cell is a pretty neat piece of engineering. It uses hydrogen and oxygen to create water, electricity, and heat. The hydrogen is pushed out of a pressurized tank into a platinum screen which strips the hydrogen of its energy. When the hydrogen tries to grab the energy from the oxygen atoms they bond together and create H2O, yes, water. The energy produced from this process can be captured and used to power an electric motor.
Hydrogen isn’t something we can just stockpile, we have to find things that have hydrogen in them and take the hydrogen from them. This process can actually be done without hurting the earth. The process of taking hydrogen from water is called electrolysis. Electrolysis is done by adding energy to water, which splits the hydrogen and oxygen from each other. The electricity can be gained from solar power, and the results of the process are hydrogen (which we capture) and oxygen, which is good for the environment.
Safety is another factor that can be at play. Luckily hydrogen is lighter than air and, unlike car fuels, does not pool up on the ground and take hours or days to evaporate while part of it seeps into the ground. Burning gasoline is a major factor in car accidents, while a small accident can cause minor injuries, a burning engine or car can send someone to the hospital. One of the benefits of hydrogen is that, while flammable, it floats away from the car. The pressurized tank means that the hydrogen will shoot out potentially faster than it can burn, and most likely leave an accident scene safer than a scene where gasoline is involved.
You might wonder how you fill a pressurized tank at the gas pump. That’s not something to fear at all, there are already several hydrogen refueling stations and several hydrogen cars on the market today. It’s the same as filling a gas tank, except with an actual gas as opposed to gasoline.
Hydrogen power has come a long way and will continue to grow. While California is leading in hydrogen-powered vehicles and hydrogen pumps, many manufacturers are pushing for the technology due to its safety and feasibility. Electric cars may have not reached their peak, but hydrogen cars have been outperforming them in their beginning and will only continue to improve as they gain popularity and become a more connected network.
Keywords: hydrogen fuel cell, hydrogen fuel, hydrogen peroxide, h2o2, h202, hydrogen storage, hydrogen oxygen, h2 gas, hydrogen gas
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