How do hydrogen powered cars work?
How do hydrogen powered cars work? This question is asked frequently, more so, after the United States of America announced hydrogen energy initiatives in the year 2003. The question is an apt indicator that hydrogen-powered cars are, indeed, making news. The answer is simple. These cars are fueled by what is known as the "perfect fuel" in the energy circles - Hydrogen. Why is it the perfect fuel? That will come later on in the article, but for now, let me remind you that hydrogen is the most abundantly found element on the earth in the form of water.
Tell me how your torchlight works. You don't even need to think to give a reply, right! Pat comes the answer - batteries or cells. Now, if you question, how do hydrogen powered cars work, the answer would still be the same cells; albeit fuel cells that produce electricity from hydrogen and oxygen. There are many types of fuel cells. The following parts are common to all fuel cells:
The anode is the negative pillar of the cell while the cathode is the positive. The electrolyte is made of a solid polymer. The catalyst is usually made of platinum. All these components form a composite structure. Each part carries out different jobs. The following steps explain the process of power generation in the fuel cell and their role in how do hydrogen powered cars work.
- Firstly, hydrogen is pumped into the anode part of the fuel cell
- Oxygen is usually taken in from the atmosphere by the positive cathode
- The negative anode, with the aid of the catalyst, splits the hydrogen cells and separates the electrons from it. The electrons are then passed into a separate external circuit to form electric current, which propels the car forward
- Meanwhile, the hydrogen cells, which are devoid of electrons, as well as those electrons that went into the external circuits return to combine with oxygen. The platinum catalyst facilitates the reaction between both the elements; as a result, water is formed. Water, besides some extra heat, is the byproduct of the reaction
Since a single fuel cell produces only a small amount of energy, a number of fuel cells are put together for optimum power generation. This bundle of cells is called as a "fuel cell stack".
Now that you know how do hydrogen powered cars work, here are some reasons why hydrogen is the perfect fuel for vehicles:
- No carbon dioxide emissions, which are primarily responsible for atmospheric pollution
- No more reliance on scarce and depleting fossil fuels
- No more cold-weather trouble. Hydrogen-powered cars are compatible to cold weather
- Hydrogen-powered cars are similar to normal cars. That they are huge in size is a 'huge' misconception
- They are low on noise as well as vibrations
Hydrogen-powered cars are here to stay. Though the hydrogen technology is in a developing state, it shows far too much potential for scientists to ignore it. It is the technology of the future and how do hydrogen powered cars work will soon be common knowledge.