Hydrogen Fuel Cells. Alternative Energy Source Claire Campbell and Mary Ann Aabye. Primary Goals. Provide a fuel source that is… Clean Readily available Inexpensive Provide a fuel source for… Automobiles Electronics/Appliances Industry Home heating/cooling
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Hydrogen Fuel Cells Alternative Energy Source Claire Campbell and Mary Ann Aabye
Primary Goals • Provide a fuel source that is… • Clean • Readily available • Inexpensive • Provide a fuel source for… • Automobiles • Electronics/Appliances • Industry • Home heating/cooling http://www.byexample.com/projects/current/hydrogen_generator
Hydrogen’s Potential • Very abundant • Produces a lot of energy • Burns clean • Reduces other pollutants http://sitemaker.umich.edu/section4group1/hydrogen_power
Producing Usable Hydrogen • Hydrogen must be isolated • Does not store well • From water: • Water Splitting • From fossil fuels: • oxidizing methanol http://www2.slac.stanford.edu/tip/2003/mar21/hydrogen.htm
How do Fuel Cells Work? • Hydrogen fuel combines with oxygen to form electricity which in turn can power electric dependent machines. • Hydrogen is NOT the actual fuel
Diagrams http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5030050 http://www.apep.uci.edu/der/buildingintegration/2/Technologies/FuelCells.aspx
TypesofFuelCells • Polymer exchange membrane: transportation • Solid oxide: unreliable BUT when sustained is the most efficient • Alkaline: oldest • Molten-carbonate: large generators • Phosphoric-acid: good for small plants • Direct-methanol: expensive
General Uses • Hydrogen technology is being used in technologies such as: • Cell phone batteries • Power tools • Hybrid cars • Air conditioning units and heat pumps • Actuators
Hybrid vs. Fuel Cells http://www.hydrogencarinfo.com/bmwhydrogencar.html http://www.evworld.com/press/Toyota_Volta.jpg
Fuel Cells have become popular in the US Military Mainly in Middle East Reduce dependence on foreign fuel Fuel cell generators are easy to transport Hydrogen vehicles get better mileage http://www.evworld.com/article.cfm?storyid=946 In the Military…
Technological Obstacles • Hydrogen is difficult to store once it is produced. • To be stored for cars it must be in liquid form, which defies its natural gaseous state. • The easiest way to produce hydrogen is to use fossil fuels. • Production requires very hot thermal reactions.
Political Obstacles • US government has actually supported hydrogen production for over 40 years (since the space program) • Energy-Policy Act, 1992 funded for 5 years of research. • Bush announced National Hydrogen Vision, but the initiative lacks funding and support from most average citizens.
Economic Obstacles • Hydrogen production is expensive because it is rarely used. • Right now, energy being produced meets the price of hydrogen production, but there isn’t a net profit (assuming $.08 kWh). • The infrastructure to support hydrogen use is still being built.
Negative Impacts • Current: • Fossil fuels used to produce most hydrogen • No trend towards more sustainable methods • Future: • Leaks into the upper atmosphere
Bibliography • http://www.mtpc.org/cleanenergy/fuelcell/impactenv.htm • http://www.nrel.gov/hydrogen/proj_production_delivery.html • http://www.csa.com/discoveryguides/hydrogen/overview.php