Internal combustion engines with some modifications can burn hydrogen, but the thermodynamics of such engines limit their efficiency to about 23%, somewhat independently of the...
The Hydrogen EconomyLast Updated on 2010-12-19 00:00:00
The so-called “hydrogen economy,” in which hydrogen serves as a major form of energy storage for mobile applications, has received a major share of the research effort on alternative fuels. Aside from the technical difficulties in developing an affordable and reliable vehicle based on hydrogen fuel cells is the daunting task of expanding the infrastructure for hydrogen production and distribution. First and foremost, hydrogen is not an energy source: Earth has no recoverable deposits of hydrogen. Rather hydrogen serves a carrier, a means for transferring energy from one source to another.
Over 95% of the hydrogen generated today derives from fossil fuels and is used at the site of production for synthesizing ammonia fertilizer, converting heavier hydrocarbons in crude oil into lighter fractions that are more suitable for fuels, or producing methanol from carbon... More »
Hydrogen as FuelLast Updated on 2010-12-16 00:00:00
Internal combustion engines with some modifications can burn hydrogen, but the thermodynamics of such engines limit their efficiency to about 23%, somewhat independently of the fuel being combusted. This means that less than a quarter of the energy in the fuel is converted into propelling the vehicle.
Fuel cells, in which hydrogen reacts with oxygen to form water and generates electricity for an electric motor that moves a vehicle, may be more efficient, theoretically above 36%. ,  This approach, however, depends on advances in hydrogen storage, fuel cell costs, fuel cell reliability, and hydrogen production and distribution.
Vehicles running on alternative fuels need a range of travel comparable to that of gasoline vehicles, something greater than 300 km (186 miles), before they will be adopted for general use. Unfortunately, hydrogen has the lowest energy content per... More »
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