Alternate Fuels Essay Research Paper Jennifer Allers — страница 6

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(Williams, 27). Current cell weight includes 97% weight for the cell, and 3% weight for the gas. A high efficiency, light weight cell is needed that will not rupture causing explosion in an automobile accident, (Knott, 28). A hydrogen fuel cell hybrid has been suggested and estimated to be 50% efficient, (Knott, 30). Ammonia can also be used as a hydrogen carrier, spawning ammonia fueled vehicles. Ammonia also has the advantage of being carbon free and has a substantial infrastructure, (Knott, 30). The U.S. Army tested but abandoned ammonia as fuel in the 1960’s. Engineers at Johns Hopkins are again researching the concept. Automobile makers in Germany have experimented with hydrogen-burning cars for 2 decades, and it will be years before they come to market. The Persian Gulf

war piqued interest in alternative fuels, and new clean-air laws make hydrogen seem more sensible than it once did. Burning it mainly creates steam, most of which condenses and trickles out the tail pipe with only a few nitrous oxides left over. Japan’s Mazda Motor Corp. hopes to sell a few hydrogen cars in California within 10 years. The main problem, according to Wolfgang Reitzle of BMW, is how to produce and distribute hydrogen. So far, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Mazda prototypes are using gasoline engines that have been modified for hydrogen, although not yet optimized. The key question is how the fuel should be stored. Mercedes has opted for gaseous hydrogen that bonds in the fuel tank with powdered metals, a fuel cell; Mazda plans a tank that stores hydrogen in metal alloy

balls; BMW uses cryogenic liquid hydrogen injected directly into the cylinders, (Hoffman, 24), as well as fuel cell technology. Used correctly, the companies insist, hydrogen is as safe as gasoline, (Templeman, 59). Hydrogen is being readily researched and certainly evidences itself as being a feasible alternative fuel. Turbine: Finally I will briefly touch on turbine cars / engines. They are of course not alternative fuels, but can run on them more efficiently than any conventional ICE. Although most of the work on alternative car engine technologies has concentrated on electric vehicles, run by either fuel cells or batteries, another option deserving of a hard look is the gas turbine engine. Compared with the ICE, gas turbine engines weigh less, are longer-lasting, and break

down less frequently. The gas turbine engine excels in terms of emissions; it is the only automotive engine technology to have met the most stringent limits tentatively set by the Environmental Protection Agency. The gas turbine vehicle also has some clear benefits over batteries and fuel cells. They can burn a variety of fuels and are compact sources of power, capable of producing 3-4 kilowatts per kilogram, versus less than 1.5 kilowatts per kilogram from a fuel cell and 0.5-1.0 kilowatts per kilogram from a battery system of a size sufficient to provide an acceptable range, (Wilson, 55). As mentioned in the beginning of this paper, there are advancements in the automotive and engine field constantly. The advancements in this field coupled with the viable alternative fuel

options discussed in this paper could produce a vehicle excelling monetarily, technologically, realistically, and environmentally. Brazil: Brazil is becoming more and more capitalist, but the government still con- trols fuel prices. Alcohol is more expensive to produce these days than gasoline, but at the pump the prices of alcohol and gas are the same per liter. The price translates into about $2/gallon. The government is subsidizing the price of the alcohol by setting a high price for gasoline. People are buying less and less cars powered by alcohol for several reasons. 1. It is still slow to start the car when cold. As you know, you can start a gasoline-powered car and move right away, even when it is cold. Alcohol-powered cars have to be warmed before moving in cool weather,

or you risk having the engine die in the middle of the road. 2. Alcohol-powered cars are more expensive than their gasoline counterparts because the metal requirements are more stringent to minimize corrosion by the flue gases. Furthermore, they need a small, 1 liter gasoline tank just to start the engine. There is not enough energy content in the anhydrous ethanol to start the engine. A few seconds after start-up, the gasoline flow stops and the alcohol flow starts. 3. Even with better metals, corrosion problems are far worse than those of gasoline engines. 4. Even with a subsidy, it is more expensive to operate alcohol-powered cars because they make less kilometers per liter of alcohol (or should I say miles per gallon)? At the peak of the oil crisis, in the early 80’s,