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Hydrogen Energy and Fuel Cells - Essay Example

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This essay "Hydrogen Energy and Fuel Cells" describes 7 types of fuel cells. Unlike the more problematic fossil fuels presently being used, advantages of using hydrogen and fuel cells include ensuring energy safety and regular supply, economic competitiveness…
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Hydrogen Energy and Fuel Cells
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"Hydrogen Energy and Fuel Cells"

Download file to see previous pages Although there are 6 challenges facing fuel cells, nations led by the U.S and Japan have taken the lead in developing hydrogen and fuel cells as their premier energy choice of the future. Global demand for energy is increasing at a frightening pace. World Energy Technology & Climate Policy Outlook {WETO} estimates that it will grow at an annual rate of 1.8% for the next two decades. The demand is presently being satisfied mainly by fossil fuels that are not only expensive and release greenhouse gases and other pollutants into the atmosphere but are also fast depleting (European Commission, 2003, page 9, para.1). In contrast, the hydrogen energy and fuel cell system ensures energy safety and regular supply, it is economically competitive and it does not pollute the air, but in fact reduces greenhouse gases; the recognition of these benefits is apparent as countries like the U.S and Japan, are laying the platform to ensure that it features heavily in the coming future. Hydrogen {chemical sign H} is not a basic energy source {such as crude oil and gas}, but an energy carrier (European Commission, 2003, page 10, para.3). It is the most in-elaborate and most plentiful element on earth. A hydrogen atom has a single proton and a single electron. Hydrogen does not exist by itself in a natural gaseous form but readily combines with other elements {for example, it combines with oxygen to form water [H2O]} to form substances. Hydrogen is also contained in several organic compounds, especially hydrocarbons that are part of fuels like gasoline and methanol. Hydrogen can be separated from water by a procedure called electrolysis which uses electric current to split water into oxygen and hydrogen. Hydrogen can be split from hydrocarbons by a procedure called reforming that uses heat to carry out the separation (Renewable Energy, 2009, para.1&2).A fuel cell (FIG.1) unites oxygen and hydrogen to produce electricity by an electrochemical process. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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