Have you ever heard about hydrogen vehicles? They have been developing for more than 200 years. Ain’t it strange?
There are two types of hydrogen vehicles:
1. HICE (Hydrogen Internal Combustion Engine) powered vehicles. HICE works as the gasoline engine we all have studied at school, but runs on hydrogen and oxygen.
2. Fuel-cell powered vehicles.
1. In 1806 an engineer, Francois Isaac de Rivaz, built an internal combustion engine powered by a hydrogen and oxygen mixture.
In 1863 Étienne Lenoir invented the Hippomobile, a vehicle with a hydrogen gas-fuelled one cylinder internal combustion engine, which made a test drive from Paris to Joinville-le-Pont, covering 9 miles in 3 hours.
Paul Dieges patented modifications to Internal Combustion Engine running on gasoline allowing them to run on hydrogen in 1970. An open cycle ICE runs on oxigen and hydrogen mixed with a surplus gas which recirculates the system, expelling water vapour to the atmosphere.
The advantages of this type of hydrogen engine -on fuel cell powered engine- are its low cost and that it operates in cold-weather conditions.
2. A fuel cell is a battery -it is not an engine, but produces electricity which can be used in electric engines- in which reactants flow into it, and reaction products flow out of it, while the electrolyte remains within it. As long as a fuel-cell is supplied with fuel it keeps working.
A hydrogen fuel cell uses hydrogen and oxigen as fuel.
In 1838 Christian Friedrich Schönben discovered the principle of the fuel cell.
Sir William Robert Grove in 1839 demonstrated the first fuel cell and later sketched it in 1842.
In 1955 W. Thomas Grubb modified it -introduced an ion-exchange membrane.
Leonard Niedrach added platinum as a catalyst in 1958.
In 1959 Francis Thomas Bacon developed a 5 kW fuel-cell, and a team led by Harry Ihring built a 15 kW fuel-cell tractor. Later that year Bacon demonstrated a practical 5 kW unit capable of powering a welding machine.
In 1969, Prat and Whitney licensed Bacon’s U. S. patents which were used in the U. S. space program.
United Technologies Corporation’s UTC Power commercialized a large stationary fuel cell system which powered buildings such as hospitals -supplying 200 kWs.
And where does hydrogen come from?
2. Hydrocarbons- coal, natural gas, liquefied petroleoum gas, biomass.
97% of hydrogen is obtained from hydrocarbons.
3% is obtained from water through electrolysis- breaking the water molecule with electricity.
They say the electricity for the electrolysis comes from conventional methods such as nuclear plants or power stations fuelled by coal, gas or oil.
I say electricity should come from the sun, the water, the Earth, and the wind- solar, hydraulic, tidal, geothermal and eolian power. And any other renewable clean sources of energy that might be invented.
Sources: Wikipedia and myself.