April 18, 2008

For Stephen

Filed under: technology — origamifreak @ 9:39 pm

I promised my friend’s son that I would look up hydrogen cell technology and figure out how they get the hydrogen in there, and how the hydrogen is used to make a car go.

We speculated together that electricity can be used to generate the hydrogen, and this is true. It is more efficient to do it in other ways though (chemical, biological, heat, etc.) You can start with hydrocarbons like oil and gas, or you can start from water.

In turn, the fuel cell uses the hydrogen plus oxygen and produces electricity, which drives a motor, which makes the car go.

You unfortunately can’t make a perpetual-motion car using hydrogen cells, because it takes 2 1/2 times as much energy to make a hydrogen fuel cell than is obtained from it. (It’s that pesky 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, rearing its ugly head, as it so often does!)


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