Hydrogen fuel cells
“Is it possible to extract the energy from fuels without an internal combustion engine?”
Fuels are tremendously useful substances for portable energy storage. However, extracting said energy from them is typically a highly pollutive process. But instead of disposing of this technology altogether, could it be possible that we could use our engineering mindsets to create a pollutive free fuel extractive technology? Well, let’s think about it. We know that fuels are typically rich in hydrogen [H2] gas, and we know that the surrounding atmosphere (at least on earth) is filled with a copious amount of oxygen [O2] gas. Furthermore, hydrogen in its ionized state has a positive charge and oxygen has a negative one, and that a current can be created if positive and negative charged states were connected together in a circuit. So what if we were to create a contraption that would separate the hydrogen gas into hydrogen ions and the oxygen gas into oxygen ions, funnel the extra electrons from the hydrogen side into the negative oxygen side, and finally combine then dispose of the surplus hydrogen and oxygen by combining them into water and flushing them out? This is the exact operating principle behind hydrogen fuel cell technology. Hydrogen fuel cells are typically implemented in automobiles and their demand growing at an exponential rate, with a 65% increases in sales from 2014-2015!
However, one must be cautious when using this technology. Because all fuels will be composed of more than hydrogen gas, those chemicals will be released as well, inducing pollution. In addition, these impurities can cause short circuiting. Since we all aspire to be scientific thinkers, we must be remember to be cautious of any new breakthroughs.