One of the alternatives is to use the electric motor instead of gasoline one. An electric car is a car that powered by an electric motor rather than a regular gasoline engine. There are several major differences between gasoline and electric cars. First of all, “the electric motor will replace the gasoline engine” (“How Electric”, 2004). Secondly, “the electric motor is powered by a controller” (“How Electric”, 2004). Thirdly, “the controller gets power from the rechargeable batteries” (“How Electric”, 2004).
In an electric car, according to Brain, the controller will take power from the batteries and deliver power to the motor.
The accelerator pedal in an electric car has the same function as the one in gasoline. The controller will deliver power to the motor depends on how hard the driver steps on the accelerator pedal. The electric can use AC or DC motors, and each of these motors has the range of volts to run on. DC motor is much simpler and less expensive compares with AC motor.
But the only problem for DC motor is heat build up fast. Too much overdriving will heat up the motor to the point where it will break down. AC motor allows using the industrial AC motor, and can making finding a motor with a specific size, shaping or powering rating easier. The Batteries Batteries are the most important component of any electric car. However, Brain states that there are some problems with the ordinary lead-acid battery technology: 1. The lead-acid batteries are heavy. 2.
The size of lead-acid batteries is big. 3. The batteries have a limited capacity. A typical lead-acid battery pack might hold 12 to 15 KW-hours of electricity, giving a car range of only 50 miles or so. 4. They are slow to charge. Normally it takes four to 10 hours for full charge depends on the battery technology. 5. These batteries are short life. The Life cycle is about three to four years, and approximately 200 full charge/discharge cycles). 6. They are expensive. A normal battery pack is around $1,000 to $2,000.
By replacing the lead-acid batteries with NiMH batteries, Brain says that “the batteries will last 10 years…however, the price is 10 times more than lead-acid batteries”. The problems with the battery technology today explain why we need fuel cells, which will be mainly discussed in the next section. Fuel Cell Technology A fuel cell is an electrochemical energy conversion device. “It converts the chemicals hydrogen and oxygen into water, and in the process it produces electricity” (Nice).
A normal battery, like the lead-acid and NiMH, has its entire chemical stored inside. The battery goes dead when it converts those chemicals into electricity. “With the fuel cell technology, the chemicals inside a battery constantly flow into the cell so it never goes dead…as long as there is a flow of chemicals into the cell, it has electricity produced”(Nice). One of the simplest reactions of fuel cell is called Proton Exchange Membrane fuel cell. According to Nice, the type of fuel cell has four parts: anode, cathode, electrolyte, and the catalyst.
“The anode conducts the electrons that are freed from the hydrogen molecules so that they can be used in an external circuit…the cathode conducts the electrons back from the external circuit to the catalyst, where they can combine with the hydrogen ions and oxygen to form water…the electrolyte only conducts positively charged ions…the catalyst is the special material that facilitates the reaction of oxygen and hydrogen…the type of fuel cell operates at a fairly low temperature, which means that they warm up quickly and don’t require expensive containment structures” (Brain).
Pro and Con Environmentally, the fuel cell powered car reduces the pollution compares with the gasoline-engine-powered car. Oil spills endanger the aquatic lives. According to Ed Ring, if hydrogen-oxygen fuel spills to water, it will evaporate eventually and the by-product is nothing but water. Also, fuel cell will not produce smog. Economically, the fuel cell powered car will ease the global energy crisis since less cars using gasoline. US can stop buying oil from Middle East and become energy self-sufficient.
Besides, the fuel cell economy can create more new industrial and scientific job in the future. The oil under ground is limited and it will eventually dry up, whereas hydrogen and oxygen are renewable, which are unlimited. However, respectively, a fuel cell uses oxygen and hydrogen to produce electricity, and the oxygen required for a fuel cell comes from the air. The hydrogen is not so readily available, and it has some limitations that make it impractical for use in most applications (Ed).
“According to a superb project done for [the] Environmental Economics class this fall, there are at least three different ways of producing hydrogen, but all still require expensive inputs like platinum and do not generate a lot of energy for the cost relative to existing internal combustion/fossil fuel technologies” (Knowledge Problem). Also, the electric car is not popular in the society. People love to drive powerful car, and the thought of electric car has much less power than gasoline car has been ingrained in their mind. Reference 1. Brain, Marshall. “How Electric Cars work”. http://auto. howstuffworks. com/electric-car. htm 2.Ed “Redwood” Ring.
“Hydrogen fuel cell cars”. http://www. ecoworld. com/Articles/Hydrogen_fuel_cars_EW. htm 3. Nice, Karim. “How Fuel Cells Work”. http://auto. howstuffworks. com/fuel-cell. htm 4. Knowledge Problem. “Fuel Cell Vehicles”. http://www. knowledgeproblem. com/archives/000363. html Abstract This paper discusses the alternatives to solve the global fuel crisis. In this paper, we discuss that the disadvantage of the combustion engine is it’s powered by gasoline, which is limited resource. To solve this problem, we suggest several fuel solutions to replace gasoline: pure electricity, ethanol, and biodiesel. We analyze each of these.
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