Sunday, June 08, 2008

Hydrogen Fuel Cells: Energy of the Future

With the skyrocketing cost of crude oil int eh world market, nations and scientists are racing to develop, perfect and market a new generation of fuel and power systems to wean away from the volatile commodity whose price is at the mercy of speculators and produced in the world's most volatile places.

One of the most promising source of energy are fuel cells powered by hydrogen, whose principle has been known since the end of the 14th century though the first practical use was only in 1965 on-board the Gemini 5, an American spacecraft. The fuel cells produce power through a chemical reaction between hydrogen (extracted from natural gas or other fuels) and oxygen with water as the only by-product.

In Japan, there has been news of fuel cell-powered homes supplied with electricity from the cells plus hot water.

At the forefront of fuel cell-powered vehicles, there's Toyota's zero-emission FCHV-adv with nickel-metal hydride battery and Honda's FCX Clarity with lithium-ion battery.

Car models are already roadworthy though expensive plus the lack of fueling stations and the high cost of development are hindering commercialization.

Today it may be costly, but in the future, as technology improves, it'll be a commodity in the days when OPEC lost their black gold.

No comments:

Post a Comment