Fuel Cells & Alternative Fuel Vehicles

Written by Andrea Susan Glass


The history ofrepparttar fuel cell can be traced back torepparttar 102768 19th century. Since thenrepparttar 102769 development and usage of fuel cells in a variety of applications have come a long way. Fuel cells hold great promise for fueling alternative fuel vehicles. Here is some ofrepparttar 102770 history ofrepparttar 102771 development of fuel cells:

William Grove inventedrepparttar 102772 fuel cell in 1839. General Electric invented proton exchange membrane fuel cells inrepparttar 102773 1950s Francis Bacon demonstrated a 5kW alkaline fuel cell in 1959. NASA's use of fuel cells duringrepparttar 102774 Apollo space missions inrepparttar 102775 1960s wasrepparttar 102776 first commercial use of fuel cells. Alkaline fuel cells have flown over 100 missions and operated for more than 80,000 hours in spacecrafts operated by NASA. The US Navy has been using fuel cells in submarines sincerepparttar 102777 1980s Fuel cell buses are running in several cities aroundrepparttar 102778 world,repparttar 102779 largest beingrepparttar 102780 European Union backed CUTE project (Clean Urban Transport for Europe). All major automakers have prototypes of alternative fuel vehicles using fuel cells onrepparttar 102781 road-some have already been leased to customers. Iceland has plans to convert its fishing fleet from diesel engines to hydrogen fuel cells as part of a national project to create a fossil fuel free economy Several car manufacturers are hoping to produce their first semi-commercial models of fuel cell cars by 2005, yet they will most probably not be mass produced until 2010. Numerous fuel cell products will be coming to market-portable direct methanol fuel cells will power mobile phones, laptops and cameras inrepparttar 102782 near future A fuel cell is around 60% efficient at converting fuel to power, doublerepparttar 102783 efficiency of an internal combustion gas engine-which makes it perfect for alternative fuel vehicles. Fuel cells have several advantages over conventional power sources like internal combustion gas engines or batteries. Additionally, there are disadvantages facing manufacturers hoping to commercialize fuel cells. See how they stack up asrepparttar 102784 next best fuel for alternative fuel vehicles.


Fuel cells reduce pollution that is caused byrepparttar 102785 burning of fossil fuels-their only by-product is water Ifrepparttar 102786 hydrogen used inrepparttar 102787 fuel cell comes fromrepparttar 102788 electrolysis of water, then using fuel cells will eliminate greenhouse gases Because fuel cells don't need conventional fuels like oil or gas, they eliminate economic dependence on politically unstable countries Since hydrogen can be manufactured anywhere there is water and electricity, production of potential fuel can be allocated in various areas Fuel cells operate at a higher efficiency than diesel or gas engines which makes them an ideal source of efficient power for alternative fuel vehicles Most fuel cells operate silently, while internal combustion engines do not Fuel cells can operate for longer times than batteries, therefore to doublerepparttar 102789 operating time, onlyrepparttar 102790 fuel needs to be doubled and notrepparttar 102791 capacity ofrepparttar 102792 unit itself The maintenance of fuel cells is relatively straightforward since there are few moving parts inrepparttar 102793 system Disadvantages

The U.S. Dependence on Foreign Oil

Written by Andrea Susan Glass

In late 2004,repparttar Hudson Institute conducted a survey withrepparttar 102767 following results:

75% of Americans prioritized "reducing our reliance on foreign oil" over "cheaper prices for oil and gas." 83% of Americans agreed that "reducing our dependence on foreign oil must be a top priority forrepparttar 102768 next administration." 91% of Americans concurred that "when it comes to energy, we need an America that relies on its own ingenuity and innovation-notrepparttar 102769 Saudi royal family." How much oil we depend on from foreign sources affects our economy and our national security. Today, we import more than half ofrepparttar 102770 oil we use, and it will increase as we use up domestic resources. The majority (65% to 75%) ofrepparttar 102771 world's oil reserves are inrepparttar 102772 Middle East and are controlled byrepparttar 102773 OPEC oil cartel. The U.S. depends on oil for most of its transportation needs--up to 95%. Until alternative energy vehicles start becoming more commonplace, our dependence on foreign oil will only grow.

Inrepparttar 102774 past, dependence on oil has cost our economy dearly. Oil price shocks and manipulation by OPEC between 1979 to 2000 costrepparttar 102775 U.S. around $7 trillion, nearly as much as was spent on national defense overrepparttar 102776 same period and more thanrepparttar 102777 interest payments onrepparttar 102778 U.S. national debt. An economic recession resulted from each major price shock, so with increasing dependence on OPEC oil, continued price shocks will continue to costrepparttar 102779 U.S. economy.

In late 2004, oil prices charged toward $50 a barrel as hurricanes slowed petroleum output fromrepparttar 102780 Gulf of Mexico and rebels threatened Nigerian oil facilities. Not only did that create a surge in gas prices atrepparttar 102781 pump, but increasedrepparttar 102782 dependence ofrepparttar 102783 U.S. on oil fromrepparttar 102784 middle East. "Higher oil prices could trigger a global recession," according to Purnomo Yusgiantoro, President of OPEC. Analysts reported surging demands from a booming Chinese economy asrepparttar 102785 cause of putting global demand only slightly below global supply. Most OPEC nations are already producing at full capacities.

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