I vaguely know that scientists are working on hydrogen in relation to ‘fusion power’, as distinct from ‘fission power’, that is currently used in nuclear power plants, and I confirmed a similarly vague feeling that this area of research is all a bit difficult when I read that JET –
These definitions were helpful:
Fission, simply put, is a nuclear reaction in which an atomic nucleus splits into fragments, usually two fragments of comparable mass, emitting 100 million to several hundred million volts of energy…
A fusion reaction is usually started with a fission reaction, but unlike the fission (atomic) bomb, the fusion (hydrogen) bomb derives its power from the fusing of nuclei of various hydrogen isotopes into helium nuclei.
In principle, a fuel cell operates like a battery. Unlike a battery, a fuel cell does not run down or require recharging. It will produce energy in the form of electricity and heat as long as fuel is supplied.
A fuel cell consists of two electrodes sandwiched around an electrolyte. Oxygen passes over one electrode and hydrogen over the other, generating electricity, water and heat.
A fuel cell produces electricity.
The fuel cell is similar to a battery. It produces electricity using chemicals. The chemicals are usually very simple, often just hydrogen and oxygen. In this case the hydrogen is the “fuel” that the fuel cell uses to make electricity.
The oxygen needed by a fuel cell is usually simply obtained from air.
Wikipedia quotes an editorial in New Scientist magazine saying “if commercial fusion is viable, it may well be a century away”,
Governor Schwarnegger’s California Hydrogen Highway has been evolving since 2004, and there are others around the world. Look at these headlines:
California’s Altergy Systems Unveils World’s First Fuel Cell Assembly Line FOLSOM, CA – Making hydrogen and fuel cell technology competitive in the market place advanced significantly last month with the unveiling of what is described as the world’s first – and only – automated high-volume fuel cell assembly line.
The Nordic Countries: Hydro Opens First H2 Station, Fueling Priuses, on Norway’s Hydrogen Highway PORSGRUNN, NORWAY – Norway’s oil and gas company Hydro opened its first hydrogen fueling station last month near its research center here as part of the country’s ambitious HyNor hydrogen highway.
GM Shifts Hundreds of Fuel Cell Engineers To Prepare for Volume Production DETROIT – General Motors is starting to gear up for fuel cell car volume production.
U.S. Coal Reserves May Be Smaller Than Generally Assumed, NRC Study Says WASHINGTON, DC – The National Research Council in a new report last month put a damper on optimistic predictions that coal would last for hundreds of years as a future last-resort key national energy source.
160 Hydrogen-Plus Stations to Operate Worldwide by Year-End, New Survey Says LONDON – A new survey of the world’s hydrogen infrastructure concludes that there will be more than 160 hydrogen fueling stations world-wide by the end of this year, with most of the additions in California, Canada, Scandinavia and the European Union.
Briefly Noted: First Carbon Sequestration Test Europe’s first land-based carbon dioxide sequestration and storage test facility got underway last month in Ketzin, Germany.
There will be limited marketing of a new Honda Fuel Cell Vehicle in Japan and Europe in 2008
Honda’s ‘next-generation’ FCX Concept fuel cell vehicle has made its European driving debut at the Gotland Ring in Sweden. The vehicle is said to have an energy efficiency of around 60 percent; approximately three times that of a petrol-engine vehicle, twice that of a hybrid vehicle and 10 percent better than the current FCX.
The FCX Concept is a key stage in Honda’s development of fuel cell technology and will be the basis for a totally new fuel cell vehicle which the company is currently developing. Limited marketing of this new vehicle is on target to begin in 2008 in Japan and the US.
What do you know about fuel cell vehicles?