Alternative Energy Sources Advantages and Disadvantages

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Gasoline Alternatives:
Hydrogen & Electrical Energies


  
Hydrogen energy is a potential primary source of fuel for automobiles, as well as a potential source of energy for heating buildings and generating electricity8. An electric car stores its energy on board, or it may generate energy using a fuel cell or generator. A fuel cell is a specialized form of battery that combines hydrogen with oxygen in a chemical reaction that produces electricity and water vapor. Unlike an electric cell or battery, a fuel cell does not run down or require recharging; it operates as long as the fuel and an oxidizer are supplied continuously from outside the cell9. A fuel-cell power plant is up to 55% efficient, compared to a regular internal-combustion engine, which is only up to 30% efficient22.

   Another alternative method of energy that is used in transportation, is electricity.

   The electric vehicle uses a unique new technology that redefines how people drive. Fully electric cars run only on batteries and need a charger to replenish the battery's power from an electrical outlet9. The engine of a regular car has many moving parts and must convert the linear motion of pistons and rods into rotary motion at the wheels; an electric motor has only a single rotating element. Like a gasoline-powered car, an electric car has a system of gears, shafts, and joints that transmit motion from the motor to the car wheels. Most electric cars do not have clutches or multi-speed transmissions. In order to go backward, the flow of electricity through the motor is reversed, changing the rotation of the motor and causing the power train to make the wheels rotate in the other direction8,9,23.

     
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