Hydrogen- The New Alternative Fuel

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					Hydrogen: The New Alternative Fuel?

Image Source: BMW Insights: CleanEnergy <http://www.bmw.com/com/en/insights/technology/cleanenergy/phase_2/cleanenergy.html>

BMW Hydrogen 7

Alternative Fuels
• In recent years, the demand for vehicles with lower CO2 emission has increased greatly. • New alternative fuels are being used to replace traditional petroleum. • The increased use of low-emission vehicles has become a common sustainable issue. • There are many different types of alternative fuels currently available. Some examples include alcohol/ethanol, vegetable oil, LPG and solar. • The most common type of alternative fuel is electricity. • Hybrid-electric vehicles use a separate electric motor which powers the vehicle independently of the main internal combustion engine.

Hydrogen as a Fuel?
• Hydrogen does not occur freely in nature, it can be produced by reforming fossil fuels or by splitting up water components by means of electrolysis • Hydrogen could be used in two different ways to power a vehicle.
– Either directly in an internal combustion engine, replacing petrol, or in – Fuel Cells used to create electricity to power an electric motor.

• Currently the only hydrogen filling station in the UK is in Hornchurch, Essex (Auto Trader, 2006, para. 9).

Advantages
• • • • Produces virtually near zero emission. Potential supply is unlimited. Most abundant element on Earth. Only by-product is water.

Disadvantages
• Expensive to turn into an energy carrier. • Has to be stored in extreme conditions. • If used in internal combustion engine rather than in fuel cells, efficiency is reduced.

The BMW Hydrogen 7
• • • • • 6.0L V12 260 BHP Top Speed 144 mph 0-60mph in 9.5 sec Driving range 435 miles

Image Source: BMW Downloads: BMW CleanEnergy <http://www.bmw.com/com/en/insights/bmw_downloads/pc_wallpaper_cleanenergy.html>

Total CO2 Equivalent Emissions Comparison Graph
CO2 Equivalent Emission (gram/mile)
500 450 400 350 300 250 200 150 100 50 0 Conventional Petroleum Vehicles Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Ethanol Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Hydrogen Internal Combustion [BMW H-7] Moderate HybridElectric Advanced HybridElectric Electric Vehicle Plug-In Hybrid 20

Vehicle Fuel Type
Data Source: EV World: Why Wheel-To-Wheel Matters <http://www.evworld.com/blogs/index.cfm?page=blogentry&authorid=12&blogid=143>

Graph shows CO2 emission from different alternative fuel vehicles compared to conventional petrol cars. The lower the better. The H-7 does not compare too well relative to other fuel types. According to the graph, using hydrogen in fuel cells is much more carbon friendly.

Emission Reduction Comparison Graph
Emission Reduction from Conventional Petroleum Vehicle (%)
70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% Conventional Petroleum Vehicles Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Ethanol Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Hydrogen Internal Combustion [BMW H-7] Moderate HybridElectric Advanced HybridElectric Electric Vehicle Plug-In Hybrid 20

Vehicle Fuel Type
Data Source: EV World: Why Wheel-To-Wheel Matters <http://www.evworld.com/blogs/index.cfm?page=blogentry&authorid=12&blogid=143>

Graph shows percentage of CO2 emission reduction compared to conventional petrol car. The higher the better. Again the H-7 has a relatively low reduction in carbon emission overall.

Conclusion
• Hydrogen in theory sound like the best alternative fuel solution that will lower carbon emission. • When used in an internal combustion engine is not efficient enough to have a sustainable effect. • It is much more efficient and sustainable to use hydrogen in fuel cells. • Alternative solutions to hydrogen provide less carbon emissions. • Internal combustion engines are not ready to cope with effectively burning hydrogen.

Reference List
BMW AG (2007) BMW Insights: CleanEnergy. Retrieved on November 18, 2007, from http://www.bmw.com/com/en/insights/technology/cleanenergy/phase_2/cleanenergy.html

Auto Trader (2006) Has BMW reached hydrogen heaven? Retrieved on November 19, 2007 from http://www.autotrader.co.uk/EDITORIAL/CARS/FEATURES/BMW/32935.html
Kushnir, P. (2000) Hydrogen As an Alternative Fuel. Retrieved on November 20, 2007 from http://www.almc.army.mil/alog/issues/MayJun00/MS492.htm Mazza, P. & Hammerschlag, R. (2004) Carrying The Future: Comparing Hydrogen and Electricity. Retrieved on November 20, 2007 from http://www.ilea.org/downloads/MazzaHammerschlag.pdf


				
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