In his State of the Union Address, President Bush made the observation that the United States had become addicted to foreign oil. The recent surge in gas prices is clearly reflective of this addiction. Americans have become so reticent in their oil usage that they are now willing to pay in excess of $50,000 for a vehicle that has a fuel efficiency of less than 10 miles per gallon. Given this blatant disregard for oil use, it is not surprising to find that the world's oil reserves are diminishing at an alarming rate. In addition to the fact that oil is being used by the global community by an alarming rate, research also demonstrates that the continued burning of fossil fuels continues to spur global warming. While some critics argue that global warming is not occurring, it is clear that carbon dioxide emissions are increasing all over the planet.Arguably, the burning of fossil fuels is having a detrimental impact on both the economy and the environment. With this in mind, many scientists have begun looking for cleaner, renewable sources of energy that can save the environment while reducing the costs associated with producing energy.
[...] Placing this in the context of an automobile, it is evident that the use of hydrogen energy to power a car would currently require the development of a car that is significantly larger in size. These current drawbacks coupled with political and social barriers to the development and implementation of alternative energy sources have made it difficult for many researchers to effectively develop this technology such that it can be applied as the dominant energy source. Research on Hydrogen Energy Despite the notable barriers that have been reported when it comes to the development of hydrogen energy, a review of the research that is being undertaken in this field clearly suggests that scientists are taking the steps necessary to improve the utilization of this new energy source. [...]
[...] By using green algae, which produce hydrogen gas as a direct result of their biological functions, it may be possible for researchers to extract the hydrogen that they need for energy without spending an excessive amount of money to accomplish this goal. Thigpen (2005) reports that researchers at the University of Leeds have been able to create a method for hydrogen production using only sunflower, air, water and two specialized catalysts. Examining this process Thigpen notes that, process works by vaporizing oil and water, breaking them down and capturing the hydrogen locked inside” (p. [...]
[...] Evans and coworkers note that through the use of the hyper-isolated fuel tank, less than 0.8 percent of the hydrogen stored in the tank is lost per day. Other automobile manufacturers attempting to work within the constraints of the current hydrogen energy technology have developed automobiles that run on hydrogen fuel cells. Monasterky (2003) reports that Toyota has developed a prototype vehicle that runs on nothing but fuel cells—electrochemical devices that act like batteries, but use hydrogen as their principle fuel source. [...]
[...] As such, it is not surprising to find that scientists all over the globe are now working to develop this technology. Providing a broad overview of the development of hydrogen energy and how it can be used, Ogden goes on to report that hydrogen can be extrapolated from any natural fuel source—i.e. coal, or natural gas—or from “renewable or nuclear sources or from ‘decarbonized' fossil sources” (p. 69). When hydrogen is collected it can be burned or “chemically reacted with high conversion efficiency” to produce power with relatively no emissions (p. 69). [...]
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