Alternative Fuels - the future of power for automobiles
Hydrogen gas is in development for combustion engines and fuel-cell electric automobiles. Its major advantage is that it can come from many different sources. When it is combusted (oxidized), its only by-product is water. In an internal combustion engine it creates a few by products because of engine lubricants. It's exhaust contains no carbon dioxide. Since it is a gas, to store it, it must be compressed or turned into a liquid. Turning it into a liquid is difficult because it doesn't turn into a liquid until it reaches -423.2° Fahrenheit.

The usual method for creating hydrogen is synthesis gas production from steam reforming or partial oxidation. However, a new way to get pure hydrogen was recently discoved. Algae has been know to be able to produce hydrogen, but scientists recently discovered how to get it to give off hydrogen on demand. By taking away sulfur from the algae, it "flips a switch" to survive by creating hydrogen. After it has used all of its resources, they simply give it sulfur again and let it replenish itself. This is a very promising find for a source of hydrogen.

Links for more information:

  • Algae may be new fuel source of future
  • BMW's Clean Energy Page
  • CE-CERT's Hydrogen Research Program
  • Environmental Applications Research Technologies for Hydrogen Inc.
  • Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Information System's Hydrogen-Gazette
  • Hydrogen Technologies Information Network
  • National Hydrogen Association
  • U.S. Department of Energy Hydrogen Program

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