Have you ever wondered what causes that reddish-brown layer of smog that hovers over major cities? Or what causes you to cough when you’re walking in the park and also adds to the formation of acid rain?
All of these problems are caused by various nitrogen oxides, which are highly reactive gases that contain varying amounts of nitrogen and oxygen. Nitrogen oxides are created when fuel is burned at high temperatures, and its major contributors are vehicles, utility sources and industrial plants.
In 2005 nitrous oxide emissions, which are a type of nitrogen oxide gas, totaled 1.2 million metric tons in the U.S., and this represents about 5% of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Nitrogen oxide is just another poisonous gas that is contributing to global warming and destroying our plant and animal life. A helpful way to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions is to drive a hydrogen fuel vehicle.
What is a hydrogen fuel vehicle?
A hydrogen fuel vehicle is a vehicle that uses hydrogen as a fuel source to power its engine.
What is the purpose of a hydrogen fuel vehicle?
The purpose of a hydrogen fuel car is to convert the chemical energy of hydrogen into mechanical energy that can power a car. Its greatest purpose is to eliminate nitrogen oxide emissions in the air by only using clean hydrogen sources, which helps cars meet emission standards.
How does a hydrogen fuel car work?
A hydrogen fuel car works in one of two ways:
1) Combustion – The process of heating up the hydrogen to burn just like regular fuel. Since hydrogen is just an energy carrier, it needs other sources to produce an electrical current. A hydrogen-boosted gasoline engine burns hydrogen, fuel and air together to create an electrical current that powers the engine. This combustion process produces 20 to 30 percent less nitrogen oxide emissions.
2) Hydrogen Fuel Cell Conversion – The process converts hydrogen and oxygen into water, which then produces electricity. The electricity is used to power an electric motor.
To learn more about how a hydrogen fuel car works click here.
What are the advantages of having a hydrogen fuel vehicle?
There are several benefits of having a hydrogen fuel car:
- They release less nitrogen oxide emissions, which means cleaner air
- They don’t require particle control filters
- Don’t contribute to the formation of acid rain
- Hydrogen is abundant because it makes up 80% of our universe
- Hydrogen is a renewable energy source that is easily replenished
- By using hydrogen fuel cells we can reduce our need for foreign oil
Are there any drawbacks?
Despite the abundance of hydrogen to power these cars, there are a few drawbacks of owning a hydrogen fuel vehicle. The two main drawbacks are the expensive cost and the extensive length of time it would take to build hydrogen fueling stations and distribution channels across the United States. Because they are not popular, it would take a lot of convincing and a lot of money to get stations to provide hydrogen fuel sources.
What are my options if I want to get a hydrogen vehicle?
There are not many hydrogen fuel cars available to the public, but their popularity is growing. Ford has created a few hydrogen fuel car models while BMW and Honda are currently developing fuel-efficient hydrogen cars that have increased power.
Hydrogen fuel cell cars are the answer to decreased nitrogen oxide emissions, and the best thing about them is that they use a renewable energy source that will always be readily available.