Hydrogen engines

Hydrogen is a very promising source of energy, allowing also to solve complex environmental problems, as when it is burned (fast exothermal oxidation reaction with oxygen) only water and heat are produced. Also nitrogen oxides is produced, which volume depends on the temperature of the combustion mixture in the cylinder. And it is important that the temperature of combustion engines in hydrogen fuel is substantially lower than in the hydrocarbon engines (gasoline, alcohol, methane, propane, butane, etc.).

Hydrogen can be used as a direct fuel for internal combustion engine (ICE). But there is another way, when hydrogen is burned to generate electricity using fuel cells – the second option is a hydrogen-electric engine. As in the case of electric cars, hybrid cars are already able to use either gasoline or hydrogen. According to the idea of designers, this type of car can provide a smooth transition from gasoline to hydrogen cars in the world.

The future of “Hydrogen transport” experts connect especially with fuel cells. Ford, General Motors, Toyota, Nissan and many others have already shown the world their concept cars. Hydrogen fueling already appeared in several locations in Germany, Japan, and the United States: in California was built the first station on the electrolysis of water using current, produced by solar panels. Similar experiments were conducted around the world.

Meanwhile, there is another way of introducing hydrogen on a vehicle, such as burning it in internal combustion engines. This approach is practiced by BMW and Mazda, as Japanese and German engineers see this as their advantages. BMW and Mazda offered to keep in the car to ride on gasoline (similar to a common current bi-fuel vehicles petrol/ gas). This approach, as envisioned by producers, will facilitate the gradual transition of vehicles only to hydrogen power. Meanwhile, mass production and mass sales of cars on fuel cells for a long time will be constrained by a small number of filling stations. And also, the cost of fuel cells is rather high.

Anyway in some countries, mainly in North America (U.S., Canada), fueling for hydrogen vehicles are already built. Hydrogen infrastructure must evolve, but this requires large financial resources, and before the mass production of such green cars many years must pass.

While the practical application of hydrogen in its pure form in a personal and communal transport is very limited. According to research conducted at the Technological University of Massachusetts, the use of cars on hydrogen currently is about 100 times more expensive than gasoline or diesel. It is clear that extensive development of the hydrogen industry can significantly reduce the cost of the use of hydrogen fuel, but the above-described difficulties are unlikely to make it competitive for use in road transport.

However, we must recognize that the practical application of hydrogen as a fuel has such difficulties, which call into question the prospects for the development of this alternative direction. If the same biodiesel is gradually expanding its position, then such a rapid development of hydrogen fuel is not observed. And there are several reasons:

1)High energy efficiency of hydrogen is also its weakness, as hydrogen is easily ignited by heat.

2) Another problem is that decomposition of water into oxygen and hydrogen is very energy intensive process, and platinum catalysts used for that are very expensive. If the decomposition of water to burn fossil fuels, the environmental friendliness of hydrogen will become an empty phrase.

In the future, hydrogen production is possible through the photolysis of water, as do plants with the help of enzymes, but the practical implementation of this method has not yet been reached. Although this biological methods of hydrogen production has the greatest chance for development.


In conclusion let’s see what is hydrogen? Is it a simple element? Is it an element, which has only a number of features that are little different from others? No, from all the evidence given in the paper, we now see that hydrogen is not just the element , but it is a “miracle”, and now it is not without reason can be called the “fuel of the future”.

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