The Fuel Cell

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 12th grade February 2008

download word file, 6 pages 0.0

Drive of the Future Drive ecologically friendly without emissions, with clean and renewable fuel like methanol or hydrogen, with automobiles just as comfortable, fast and secure as usual - all this will be possible with the fuel cell. Since 1990 DaimlerChrysler has been developing this advanced technology. And all this with great strides: The test vehicles, which rolled out of the lab - last time in November 2000 the NECAR 5 - even today reach peak velocities of 150km/h and drive 450 kilometres with the contents of one tank. Ín 2004 DaimlerChrysler wants to market the first cars with fuel cell drives.

Fuel cells produce current from hydrogen and aerial oxygen. As a result, besides electric energy, are only produced heat and water. Within the automotive drive several fuel cells are connected in series as the so called "stack". It provides current for a electric motor working not only without emissions, but also about twice as effective as the Otto engine.

Thus fuel cell systems are considered to be the alternative drives with the greatest developing potential.

Hydrogen is gaseous and thus needs voluminous tanks and special gas stations. Using a liquid hydrogen reservoir like methanol - "methanolized" hydrogen - as fuel, has the advantage that it can be handled similar to petrol or diesel today. For the reaction in the fuel cell a so called reformer on board of the vehicle produces hydrogen from it. For that purpose the fuel is mixed with water, it evaporates and is decomposed into hydrogen and carbon dioxide. Before the gas mixture gets into the fuel cell afterwards, it is cleaned in a further step. The pressure on the gas pedal defines how much hydrogen is produced each time.

Fuel cell drives are considered to be the most promising among the alternative drive...