The theme of this year's Cyberspace Pursuit competition is "Hydrogen Power: Forecasts, Trends, and Ideas about the Future." We were challenged to research and create a set of webpages on the history of hydrogen power, current innovations, and future forecasts pertaining to its potential for replacing the world's dependency on fossil fuels. This is our solution.
Hydrogen is the most abundant element in our universe. It is also the simplest, formed of only one proton and one electron. Most hydrogen is found in compounds of all sorts, forming common minerals and organic molecules that comprise all life on our planet. Our sun, which provides Earth with heat and light, and will continue to do so for approximately five billion more years, runs on hydrogen power. The fusing of two hydrogen atoms under extreme heat and pressure releases mass amounts of energy that radiates into space.
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Already hydrogen is used as a sort of fuel source. It is a major component in gasoline fuels. However, the combustion process produces harmful greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide that contribute to global warming. In the past, people have attempted to use hydrogen for transportation purposes, namely in zeppelins that used its low density for levitation purposes. This all came to an end with the Hindenburg disaster, which brought to light the extreme volatility of pure hydrogen gas. Since then, hydrogen as a direct fuel source has been largely frowned upon for safety reasons.
Photograph courtesy of Primit Too Taa.
Today, hydrogen is once again being considered as a fuel source. Stored in relatively safe compounds, it can be used to generate an electric current and power motors and other devices. PEMFCs are the next step in powering our world. They are a clean source of energy that run entirely on renewable resources. Fuel cells are the wave of the future and will soon replace oil as the world's major fuel source.
In this exposition, we will discuss the history of hydrogen, how PEMFCs function, and the current and future uses of hydrogen fuel cells. These devices are ingenius and useful in almost all aspects of life, powering everything from public transportation to a toaster to a bicycle. Their steam byproduct is also useful in providing heat for homes, making fuel cells doubly beneficial and efficient.
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