Environmentally Friendly Alternatives To The Combustion Engine

Essay, Research Paper

In the past decade there has been a great deal of worrying about what will happen when the world?s oil supply becomes depleted. The main reason for concern is that almost all of the automobiles in use now require an oil based gasoline to run their internal-combustion engines. In the next few decades it is predicted that all of the world?s oil will have already been mined, and combustion engines will be unable to function. For this reason many companies such as Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Chrysler, Toyota, BMW, and others have started to create engines that do not require oil based gasoline. Such engines include the battery-powered engine and the hydrogen-powered engine. These engines require different fuels and all have an adverse affect on the environment.

The battery-powered engine is more efficient than the combustion engine for a variety of reasons. One reason includes how the electric motor is directly connected to the wheels; this lets the vehicle consume no energy while the car is at rest or coasting. Another way the battery engine is more efficient than the combustion engine is the fact that the battery engine converts more than 90 percent of the storage cell energy into driving force, while the combustion engine converts only a mere 25 percent of the energy in a liter of gasoline into driving force. Also, by owning a battery powered automobile, you won?t have to refuel at the nearest gas pump. You can conveniently refuel your car at your own home without all of the hassle.

Primarily hydrogen cells fuel the hydrogen-powered engine. The fuel cells inside the engine use the hydrogen to generate electricity to power the vehicle. The engine uses the hydrogen to power the car in a very unique way. The hydrogen, along with oxygen is brought into opposite sides of the fuel cell. A plastic membrane separates the two. A metallic coating on the plastic membrane acts as a catalyst to separate the hydrogen electron from its proton. The free hydrogen electron follows the electrical circuit to the oxygen on the other side of the fuel cell. On its way around the circuit, it powers an electric motor that powers the car. The remaining charged hydrogen proton is pulled through tiny pores in the plastic membrane to join with the oppositely charged oxygen which together form water vapor. Water vapor is the only exhaust the hydrogen engine emits.

The hybrid-electric engine combines the internal combustion engine of a regular car with the battery and electric motor of an electric car. The engine is set up like the battery-powered engine, but the battery is charged using an onboard generator, which is powered by the combustion engine. This makes the fuel usage of today?s cars cut in half. Along with lowering the amount of fuel needed, it also dramatically lowers the amount of pollution that the exhaust emits.

With these three engines, the amount of gasoline that is used will dramatically decrease. The problem now is distributing these engines all around the world, and convincing people to purchase cars that have these smaller engines, instead of cars that use gasoline very quickly. Given that cars with small motors that get good gas mileage aren?t as popular as vehicles with large motors that use gas quickly, it will take a very long time for people to adapt to buying future gasoline saving vehicles.


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