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%
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.