Essay on Fossil Fuel Consumption and Greenhouse Gas Emission

Essay on Fossil Fuel Consumption and Greenhouse Gas Emission

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Fuel cells powered by hydrogen represent the latest technology in the push to reduce fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emission. The internal combustion engine’s design limitations have been pushed to their limits and fuel economy has been maxed out. While a shift in consumer preference to smaller and more fuel efficient automobiles would decrease consumption and emissions, the economic model alone will not prompt such a change. The hydrogen fuel cell’s new technology calls for a radical change in design approaches that will test the automakers that choose to mass-produce this technology. The hydrogen harvesting methods required to power the fuel cells have environmental challenges. Regardless of the challenges, the utility of hydrogen fuel cells as a means of propulsion should be explored and experimented upon.
As the push for more economic and environmentally friendly modes of transportation expands into plug-in hybrids and fully electric vehicles, the sustainability of our electric grid will come under greater scrutiny. According to a report from the Government Accountability Office, 70% of electric power in the United States comes from natural gas and coal (Johnson). Moreover, 50% of the power generated from fossil fuels comes from plants built before the Clean Air Act of 1978 and lack the now required emissions safeguards (Johnson). The source and sustainability of today’s energy sources dominates debate about the environment.
The use of hydrogen as a fuel source dates back to the 19th century when William Robert Grove created the first hydrogen fuel cell in 1839 (Lampton). The “gas voltaic battery” as it was called reversed the electrolysis to produce water from hydrogen and the oxygen in the air. E...

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...cher. 43. (2005): 492-494. Web. 27 Apr. 2014. .

Ahmed, S., and M. Krumpelt. "Hydrogen from hydrocarbon fuels for fuel cells." International Journal of Hydrogen Energy. 26.4 (2001): 291-301. Web. 27 Apr. 2014.

Lampton, Christopher. "How Hydrogen Cars work." HowStuffWorks, 09 Apr 2009. Web. 27 Apr 2014. .
Ahluwalia, Rajesh, X. Wang, A. Rousseau, and R. Kumar. "Fuel economy of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles." Journal of Power Sources. 130.1-2 (2004): 192-201. Web. 27 Apr. 2014.

Cockroft, Colin, and Anthony Owen. "The Economics of Hydrogen Fuel Cell Buses." Economic Record. 83.263 (2007): 359-370. Web. 27 Apr. 2014. .

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