• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Hydrogen fuel vehicles

Extracts from this document...


Hydrogen as an alternate fuel for vehicles

Since last century engineers have been producing and testing FCVs (Fuel Cell Vehicles), the process to build them is very slow and expensive but will someday provide a car, which is able to run on hydrogen and oxygen outputting zero harmful emissions for the planet. Billions of dollars have already been spent on research and manufacturing and in a few years time experts claim that these vehicles will replace current gasoline-based automobiles. However, as any other commercial product on the market, the fuel cell cars have their advantages and disadvantages, which begs the question: Will hydrogen be an alternative to gasoline as a fuel for our cars in 20 years time?

Some might believe this is a great alternative to gasoline vehicles, since hydrogen constitutes for 90% of all existing atoms in the universe and we will therefore never run out of it, unlike oil. Yet, it is also the lightest element, thus any hydrogen that purely exists on Earth will shoot out instantly to space, therefore the only remaining hydrogen that exists on the planet is in water molecules and in natural gas. Fortunately, there are currently two ways of producing the hydrogen needed to run these cars: by electrolysis of water or by a process called steam reformation, which separates hydrogen from carbon in natural gas. Both processes have their advantages and disadvantages.

...read more.


Another issue for companies attempting to make FCVs popular in the future is the lack of infrastructure from where customers can obtain hydrogen to use their cars. A big change in groundwork is required to make these cars a viable alternative to people. Some analysts expect the price of building the amount of hydrogen stations throughout the USA required to reach all Americans to be as high as half a trillion dollars. Right now there are only 20 functioning stations in California, with an expansion plan of 8 more later this year.  However, some experts agree that another more cost-effective solution, rather than installing thousands of hydrogen delivery systems, is to implement a small hydrogen plant into customers’ garages as an alternative to fueling up at a hydrogen station. This is still in research, as a great leap in technology is needed for customers to have a medium sized, and not very expensive hydrogen converter in their homes. For all these reasons, fuel cell cars can only be leased in California and other countries like Germany or Japan, where there is a very limited infrastructure for these cars. The number of fuel cell cars on the streets is of roughly 300 worldwide.    

  Therefore, in recent years there have been endless debates on whether these cars will be worth investing in, since there are already less clean but cheaper alternatives to FCVs like hybrid cars.

...read more.


In conclusion, it can be said that progress will be made towards making the transition to using hydrogen as a fuel in the next years or decades in first-world countries like the USA, Japan and probably in Europe, however, it will not reach the current level of market penetration the gasoline already has, even in those countries. In other regions of the world like Latin America and parts of Asia this transition will be seen even at a slower rate, even if governments are committed to being eco-friendly, the economic factor will lead it to be impossible in such a short period of time. Even though, the evolution to another fuel from gasoline will not be completely made in 2030 it is possible to say it will happen towards the end of the year 2060 worldwide, giving enough time to most countries to accommodate to all the changes required to support hydrogen as their main fuel.

Rodolfo Martinez









...read more.

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate Physics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related International Baccalaureate Physics essays

  1. Lab Report " Which fuel is the better source of energy?

    - Repeat the steps above for all of the spirit burners. After that put the results in a table and then graph them. Data: Lid - 58.3g Spirit Burner ( Empty ) - 100.0g Mass of Spirit burners before burning (with lid): Methanol - 158.1g Butanol - 162.2g Pentanol -

  2. What would be the best geo-science solution to stop global warming?

    If the areas don't turn into a forest with wild life, they are basically tree farms. Another way to have less CO2 in the atmosphere is to not produce any CO2 anymore. This would mean that we not be allowed to burn any fossil fuels, instead we would use solar energy.

  1. Telescopes - science research project.

    to us from the whole universe is obstructed by the outermost surface of the planet or is engrossed by the wetness in the environment before they reach to the earth surface. To deal with the issue, telescopes are founded in space.

  2. World Energy resources

    Brief Procedure: Nuclear fission ----- Heat water to make steam ----- Steam turn turbines ----- Turbines turn generator ----- Electrical power Energy transfer during the procedure: nuclear energy --- kinetic energy of particles - thermal energy - kinetic energy of rotation --- electrical energy Advantages Disadvantages High power output Radioactive

  1. Physics Wave revision question

    Which one of the following diagrams is a possible subsequent picture of the string? (1) 26. A water surface wave (ripple) is travelling to the right on the surface of a lake. The wave has period T. The diagram below shows the surface of the lake at a particular instant of time.

  2. HL Physics Revision Notes

    interference pattern produced by waves from two coherent point sources When two coherent point sources interfere they produce an interference pattern The dark lines are areas where the two waves interfere destructively, in between the dark points are areas of maximum amplitude where the waves interfere constructively When the two

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work