HYDROGEN FUEL CELLS By: Leah Shepherd, Olivia Haas, and Ian Charvat 7
HYDROGEN FUN FACTS • Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe. • Hydrogen is a renewable, efficient, and clean source of energy. • Scientists have been producing hydrogen for years before they realized that it was an element. • Composed of a sinlge proton and a single electron. • Hydrogen is estimated to be 90% of the visible universe. • Hydrogen is the raw fuel that most stars “burn” to produce energy. • The sun’s supply of hydrogen is expected to last another 5 billion years.
WHAT A FUEL CELL IS AND HOW IT WORKS A fuel cell is an electrochemical energy device conversion device. A fuel cell converts the chemicals, hydrogen and oxygen, into water, and the process produces electricity. With a fuel cell, chemicals constantly flow into the cell so it never goes dead, unlike a battery. As long as there is a flow of chemicals into the cell, the electricity flows out of the cell. Most fuel cells in use today use hydrogen and oxygen as chemicals. http://www.brainpop.com/technology/energytechnology/fuelcells/
FUEL CELL FUN FACTS The five most common types of fuel cells differ from one another based on electrolyte, operating temperature, and uses
FUEL CELL EFFCIENCY • Pollution reduction is one of the primary goals of the fuel cell. By comparing a fuel-cell-powered car to a gasoline-engine-powered car and a battery-powered can you can see how fuel cells might improve the efficiency of cars today. • If a fuel cell is powered with pure hydrogen, it has the potential to be up to 80-percent efficient. That is, it converts 80 percent of the energy content of the hydrogen into electrical energy. Honda’s FCX Concept Vehicle
HISTORY • In 1839, the first fuel cell was conceived by Sir William Robert Grove, a Welsh judge, inventor and physicist. He mixed hydrogen and oxygen in the presence of an electrolyte, and produced electricity and water. The invention, which became known as the fuel cell, didn’t produce enough electricity to be useful. • In the 1920’s, fuel cell research in Germany paved the way to the development of the carbon cycle and solid oxide fuels today. • In 1932, engineer Francis T. Bacon began his vital research into fuel cells. • In 1889, the term fuel cell was first coined by Ludwig Mond and Charles Langer.
HISTORY (CONTINUED) • It took Bacon until 1959 to perfect his design, when he demonstrated a five-kilowatt fuel cell that could power a welding machine. • In October of 1959, Harry Karl Ihrig, an engineer for the Allis-Chalmer Manufacturing company, demonstrated a 20-horse power tractor,, the first vehicle ever powered by a fuel cell. • During the 1960’s, General Electric produced the fuel-cell based electrical power system for NASA’s Gemini and Apollo space capsules. • In 2003, President Bush announced a program called the Hydrogen Fuel Cell Initiative during his State of the Union Address
FUEL CELL USES • Hydrogen fuel cells power NASA shuttle’s electrical systems, producing a clean byproduct – pure water, which the crew drinks. • Fuel Cells are a promising technology for use as a source of heat and electricity for buildings. • They are also used to power fuel cell vehicles, including automobiles, buses, forklifts, airplanes, boats, motorcycles, and submarines.
FUEL CELL VEHICLES Fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) have the potential to significantly reduce our dependence on foreign oil and lower harmful emissions that cause climate change. FCVs run on hydrogen gas rather than gasoline and emit no harmful tailpipe emissions. FCVs look like regular vehicles from the outside, but from the inside they contain technologically advanced components not found today on today’s vehicles. The most obvious difference is fuel cell stack that converts hydrogen gas stored onboard with oxygen form the air into electricity to drive the electric motor that propels the vehicle. This is an example of a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/tech/fuel-cell-car.html
ADVANTAGES • Fuel cells combine the best battery (aviate, no emissions) and internal combustion engines (easy refueling once the infrastructure is in place.) • They are far more energy-efficient than gasoline-fueled vehicles with double the efficiency of internal combustion engines, and are far less polluting • They have a simple construction so mass production costs would become extremely low. • There has been a 10-fold increase in the power density of fuel-cell stacks and a 10-fold decrease in the power in their cost within in the past 5 years • It will continue to operate indefinitely, without complicating as long as it has a fuel source • The tailpipe emission is water vapor.
DISADVANTAGES • Fuel cells are currently very expensive, but since they have a simple construction, mass production costs would be low. • Prototype fuel cells only last 1/5th as long as it would be needed to make fuel cells cost effective. • They are energy losers because it costs more to produce hydrogen than it is earned t=by using hydrogen in fuel cells. • Electricity generated by fuel cells in cars cost thousands of dollars per kilowatt: This would have to fall by a factor of 10 for fuel cells to become economically viable. • It’s production at energy plants creates excessive carbon dioxide. • It is a very flammable gas, which further adds to the on-board storage problems.
HOW HYDROGEN IS GATHERED AND STORED • Hydrogen is a secondary source of energy which is gathered from a primary energy source such as natural gas, coal and water. • Because hydrogen is such a light gas, it is difficult to store a large amount in a small space. That is a challenge for auto engineers who want to match today's 300-mile vehicle range, but some recent vehicles have done it. • Once hydrogen fuel is produced, it must be stored. In order for fuel cell cars to compete with gasoline powered ones, they must be able to carry enough hydrogen to go the same distance as a gasoline-powered car. That means that fuel cell cars must be able to travel about 300 miles before refueling.
EQUIPMENT NEEDED FOR HYDROGEN FUEL CELLS • Something that will cost a lot of money is building a hydrogen infrastructure-the physical equipment needed for storage and delivery. For example, for the fossil fuels in use today, the infrastructure includes the following elements: • Oil pipelines to move oil from the fields to the refining plants. • Refining plants that transform the oil pumped from the ground into forms that can be used in automobiles and other devices. • Gas stations that provide the fuel for customers. • In order for cars powered by fuel cells to become a reality, an infrastructure for hydrogen fuel will need to be built. An infrastructure for natural gas and oil.
SUMMARY • Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe. A fuel cell is an electrochemical energy device conversion device. A fuel cell converts the chemicals, hydrogen and oxygen, into water, and the process produces electricity. In 1839, the first fuel cell was conceived by Sir William Robert Grove. Most recently, in2003, President Bush announced a program called the Hydrogen Fuel Cell Initiative during his State of the Union Address. Fuel Cells have a variety of uses, from powering vehicles to NASA shuttle’s electrical systems. Fuel cells are the renewable power of the future!
QUIZ!! 1. What is the most abundant element is the universe? Hydrogen 2. When was the first fuel cell created? 1839 3. What two chemicals are needed to make a fuel cell? Hydrogen and Oxygen 4. Which President announced a a program called the Hydrogen Fuel Cell Initiative during his State of the Union Address? President George W. Bush 5. What is the emission from a Fuel Cell? Water Vapor
BIBLIOGRAPHY • Lew, Kristi. Goodbye, Gasoline: The Science of Fuel Cells. Minnesota: Compass Point Books, 2009. • Nice, Karim and Strickland, Jonathan. “How Fuel Cells Work.” How Stuff Works. 03 Mar. 2012. <http://auto.howstuffworks.com/fuel-efficiency/alternative-fuels/fuel-cell.htm> • 3. “Hydrogen Energy.” Renewable Energy World. 07 Mar. 2012 <http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/tech/hydrogen> • “Hydrogen Basics.” Fuel Cells 2000. 08 Mar. 2012 <http://www.fuelcells.org/hydrogen/basics.html>
BIBLIOGRAPHY (continued) • Tyson, Peter. “Clickable Fuel Cell Car.” NOVA. Jul. 01, 2005. Mar. 08, 2012. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/tech/fuel-cell-car.html • “Fuel Cell Vehicles.” U.S Department of Energy. Mar. 06, 2012. Mar. 08, 2012. http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/fuelcell.shtml • Bellis, Mary. “Hydrogen Fuel Cells.” About. Mar. 08, 2012. http://inventors.about.com/od/fstartinventions/a/Fuel_Cells.htm