Tesla pioneered our greatest hope in this space to date with the development and popularization of battery technology. The demand for lithium-ion battery technology is simply growing faster than the supply of lithium can satisfy.
So, we need a multi-faceted approach to solve this problem. Another solution, the favorite industry to take over from fossil fuels, is hydrogen/water fuel technology not long ago. Toyota and Shell are working to develop this industry.
Hydrogen has three primary obstacles to overcome to become a viable energy source for any industry: Safety, infrastructure, and cost. If water fuel cells make it to public roads at scale, the hydrogen needs to be safe and perceived as safe.
How to make a saltwater fuel cell? The production process of hydrogen is pretty simple. It uses a technique called electrolysis to separate water into hydrogen and oxygen. The electrolyzer consists of two metal-coated electrodes and a DC power source, which provides a negative and positive charge. The rate of production of oxygen and hydrogen depends on the electric current.
But pure water is not very conductive. We need to increase the voltage or conductivity to achieve adequate hydrogen production. It’s much more efficient to increase conductivity. So an electrolyte, in the form of salt, is often included as a charge carrier. It is the oldest and most well-established production method for hydrogen.
How to make an engine run on water as fuel? (Water-powered engine)
When we read our automobile book, we commonly think about a question: How can water be used as fuel? Or, How can water be turned into fuel? Also, it’s a widespread question we find in our exam papers. So let’s know about it.
Electrolysis is splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen by an electric current. This current is created by placing two electrodes in the water. These electrodes are made of different metals. So one is an anode, and the other is a cathode. The cathode is where the electric current flows from, and the anode is where it flows to. One is considered positive, while the other is negative.
If you’ve ever taken a chemistry class, you might know that water is H2O, which means it’s two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen. But these atoms are covalently bonded, which means they share electrons. When electricity splits that bond, oxygen gets a little sneaky and steals an electron from the hydrogen. So then, these molecules become charged and become attracted by either the cathode or the anode.
Pure water is a pretty poor conductor of electricity. So an electrolyte is added to the water like lithium or sodium. Electrolytes have more ions that allow the electrical energy to move through them. When water is broken up, the oxygen might bind with the sodium, but the hydrogen bonds, forming hydrogen gas.
But why would you do this? What’s the point besides having fun in chemistry class? Well, to fuel, it’s a pretty combustible element. So it could be an excellent fuel source.
Why is water not a good fuel? (Scientific explanation)
Have you heard of hydrogen fuel cells? Hydrogen is in a lot of things. It’s everywhere. About 75% of the mass in the universe is hydrogen. That’s a lot, but hydrogen is a bit energetic molecule. It likes binding with other molecules. So if you want to get hydrogen by itself, you’ve got to be a small home wrecker, get all up in that, and break it up sometimes by using electricity.
Once you break up water, you can store that hydrogen and use it as fuel. Michael Faraday first discovered the phenomenon of electrolysis back in 1834. So why hasn’t it been a thing in the past century? It’s those dang electrodes.
Many materials corrode as soon as the current is applied, so they don’t last in the long term. So you want an anode material that is resistant to damage from oxidation and a cathode material that is resistant to damage from reduction. But both need to be capable of the appropriate reaction.
What is the future of hydrogen fuel/water-powered?
Scientists are working on it. One study published in Advanced Materials used a cobalt coating that worked for both. The researchers found that it’s cheaper than other materials and even scalable. They think it could even be scaled up to a huge industrial size.
Imagine whole towns being powered by it! Besides powering towns, electrolysis could power robots. Some might use it to power a giant robotic eel that could swim the oceans of Jupiter’s moon Europa.
So it seems like this technology is well on its way to becoming a huge thing, which is excellent because it could be a key to a greener tomorrow. On that note, Toyota is fueling the future with a new Toyota Mirai using hydrogen’s most abundant element in the universe. The Numerai is looking to the future with sustainability in mind.
Read more similar topics:
Edwards, Tony. “End of the road for a car that ran on water.”
State of New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety, Wayback Machine.
Lopez, Allison. “Inventor, 82, gets 20 years for ‘estafa'”. Philippine Daily Inquirer.
“The Truth About Water-Powered Cars: Mechanic’s Diary.” Popular Mechanics.
Professor doubts water car claims – A leading alternative fuels expert throws water on a Japanese company, claims that it’s developed the world’s first car powered by just water. Professor Theodosios Korakianitis at the Queen Mary University of London says water by itself would not be enough to get your car going.
Ball, Philip. “Burning water and other myths.” Nature News.
Guidelines for the use of Hydrogen Fuel in Commercial Vehicles, at the Wayback Machine, U.S. Department of Transportation. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.