Hydrogen: The Fuel of Tomorrow Essay

Hydrogen: The Fuel of Tomorrow Essay

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People today are always complaining about something, and one popular topic is gasoline prices. The older generations reminisce about a time when gasoline could be bought for a quarter a gallon; a big difference compared to the three to four dollars being paid today. It does not help matters that America depends so heavily on foreign countries for our gasoline supply.1 And with the conflict in the Middle East, gasoline prices are as uncertain as ever; the prices rise and fall at the drop of a hat now-a-days. Because of these reasons, along with global warming, scientists have been experimenting with replacement fuel to take the place of fossil fuel. Some of the characteristics that scientists are looking for are availability and low emissions. And one of those alternative fuels is hydrogen.1
Hydrogen, with the atomic weight of 1.0, is the lightest element on the periodic table.2 And while most people do not think of it as a fuel, it has been used by NASA for a fuel and others for industrial processes.3 Some people may remember the Hindenburg and how hydrogen was blamed for the accident. The popular belief was that the hydrogen in the zeppelin combusted with the oxygen in the air and caused the explosion; but Addison Bain, a retired NASA engineer, concluded that the actual cause was the skin covering the dirigible.3,4 The skin was made of cotton material covered with iron oxide and cellulose butyrate acetate; cellulose butyrate acetate also had a suspension of aluminum powder.3 The compounds are basically ingredients for a solid rocket propellent.3 The dirigible caught fire by an electrostatic discharge that ignited the skin.3 While the hydrogen inside of the dirigible did not help matters when it caught on fire, it was not the ma...


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...2007.
2. McCarthy, John. Hydrogen. http://www-formal.stanford.edu/jmc/progress/hydrogen.html (November 24, 2011).
3. Schatz Energy Research Center. http://www.schatzlab.org/education/h2safety.html ( November 24, 2011), Humbolbt State University.
4. Hoffmann, Peter. Tomorrow’s Energy: Hydrogen, Fuel Cells, and the Prospects for a Cleaner Planet. The MIT Press: Cambridge, 2001.
5. Saravanan, N.; Nagarajan, G. Experimental Investigation in Optimizing the Hydrogen Fuel on a Hydrogen Diesel Dual-Fuel Engine. Energy Fuels 2009, 23 (5), 2646-2657.
6. Ashok, M. P.; Saravanan, C. G. Role of Hydrogen Peroxide in a Selected Emulsified Fuel Ratio and Comparing it to Diesel Fuel Figures. Energy Fuels 2008, 22 (3), 2099-2103.
7. Licht, Stuart. Solar Water Splitting to Generate Hydrogen Fuel: Photothermal Electrochemical Analysis. J. Phys. Chem. 2003, 107 (18), 4253-4260.

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