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Hydrogen Fuel Cells as an Alternative Automobile Power Source By Kenneth Noyce Physics 3150 Energy and Sustainability.

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Presentation on theme: "Hydrogen Fuel Cells as an Alternative Automobile Power Source By Kenneth Noyce Physics 3150 Energy and Sustainability."— Presentation transcript:

1 Hydrogen Fuel Cells as an Alternative Automobile Power Source By Kenneth Noyce Physics 3150 Energy and Sustainability

2 Questions to be answered What is a Fuel Cell? What is a Fuel Cell? How does a Fuel Cell work? How does a Fuel Cell work? How can a Fuel Cell be used in a car? How can a Fuel Cell be used in a car? What are the advantages of a Fuel Cell? What are the advantages of a Fuel Cell? What are the disadvantages of a Fuel Cell? What are the disadvantages of a Fuel Cell? How efficient would a Fuel Cell car be? How efficient would a Fuel Cell car be?

3 What is a Fuel Cell? An electrochemical conversion device An electrochemical conversion device A better known electrochemical conversion device is a battery. A Fuel cell is a thermodynamically open system whereas a Battery is a closed system.

4 What is a Fuel Cell? A fuel cell such as the one pictured to the right converts chemical potential energy stored in the fuel into electrical energy through a process of oxidation of the fuel.

5 How does a Fuel Cell work? 1. Hydrogen fuel is broken into positive hydrogen ions and Negative electrons. 2. The hydrogen ions pass through an electrically insulating membrane which forced the electrons through an external circuit. 3. The Hydrogen ions and electrons then react with oxygen to form water as a byproduct.

6 How does a Fuel Cell work?

7 How can a Fuel Cell power a car? Currently there are 2 types of automobile engines, Internal Combustion, and Electrical. A fuel cell can be used to power an electrical engine similarly to how gasoline is used to power an internal combustion engine.

8 How can a Fuel Cell power a car? Car would have a hydrogen tank rather than a gas tank. Car would have a hydrogen tank rather than a gas tank. The chemical energy stored in the hydrogen would be converted into electrical energy in the fuel cell. The chemical energy stored in the hydrogen would be converted into electrical energy in the fuel cell. The electrical energy produced by the fuel cell would power the car’s electric motor. The electrical energy produced by the fuel cell would power the car’s electric motor.

9 What are a Fuel Cell’s Advantages? Emissions: Water is the only emission produced by a Fuel Cell Fuel availability: Hydrogen comes from electrolysis of water which is a readily available substance.

10 What are a Fuel Cell’s advantages? Reusability: A fuel cell has an extremely long life unlike the batteries used to power current electrical cars Motor Efficiency: Electric motors can easily achieve 90% efficiency whereas internal combustion engines are typically only 30% efficient.

11 What are a Fuel Cell’s disadvantages? Cost: Fuel Cells are currently very expensive ($2000-$20000/kW) due to both their platinum content and production costs. Weight: Fuel cells are much heavier than batteries with the same power output.

12 What are a Fuel Cell’s disadvantages? Operating Temperature: Most Fuel Cells can’t operate at temperatures below freezing. Energy content of Hydrogen: Hydrogen production requires more energy than is stored in the hydrogen making it an energy storage fuel.

13 How efficient is a Fuel Cell? Fuel Cells range from 50% to 80% efficient depending on the operating temperature, and the current drawn from the fuel cell. Fuel Cells range from 50% to 80% efficient depending on the operating temperature, and the current drawn from the fuel cell. Hydrogen production through electrolysis can obtain 80% efficiency. Hydrogen production through electrolysis can obtain 80% efficiency. Electrical motors can attain 95% efficiency. Electrical motors can attain 95% efficiency.

14 How efficient is a Fuel Cell car? The maximum theoretical efficiency of a Fuel Cell powered vehicle from hydrogen production to driving assuming 10% losses due to friction is: μ =.8 x.85 x.95 x.9 =.59 = 59% efficient The actual efficiency would be less than this, but would still be much higher than the average 10% efficiency of most cars on the road today.

15 References

16 Questions?


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