Can You Use a Green Energy Source like Water to Power a Car?
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Can You Use a Green Energy Source like Water to Power a Car?

Vadodara : India | Jul 15, 2012 at 8:50 PM PDT
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ITM Power: Hydrogen Renewable Energy Systems

For more than a century, we rely on oil to fuel our cars. But did you know that the world’s oil is close to drying up because it is a nonrenewable resource? Well that may not happen tomorrow or next year but we are getting closer because of the demand in the world market. Why wait for that day when we can rely on a green energy source like water to power our cars.

Water can power a car? If you think that’s impossible, well it is already here but this is not yet being made on a commercial scale.

The German automobile BMW has produced the world’s first ever hydrogen powered car. While only 100 of these units were produced, you can already imagine if more of these vehicles are on the road.

The initial model namely the BMW Hydrogen 7 uses the body of the 760i model. Once you pop the hood, you will notice that the engine is different since it uses gas and hydrogen.

This just means we have not yet totally abandoned are dependence on gas. Given more time and money, the current 4.7 miles per gallon it can travel using water alone could hit double digits in the future.

The biggest challenge to using water as a green energy source as opposed to oil in vehicles is the engine. While there are cars around like the Prius which runs on electricity and gas thanks to fuel cell technology, the hydrogen combustion is less than 10 years old so you could say we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg.

To prevent the water from evaporating, this has to be stored in a large, 30-gallon, bi-layered and highly insulated tank so this does not evaporate into compressed gas. Another safety mechanism is the valves which are designed to open should the pressure within the tank exceed 5 bars.

With the success of the BMW H7, the company came out with a new car that is also partly powered by water known as the H2R. While we cannot yet put our garden hose into the fuselage to fill it up, this vehicle uses liquid nitrogen as a fuel.

Tests on this vehicle have shown it can achieve 285hp and reach a top cruising speed of 185.5 miles per hour. It can also accelerate from 0 to 60 miles per hour under 6 seconds.

But why use water? It is because hydrogen combustion is clean so it does not emit harmful gases into the atmosphere unlike cars that run on petrol or diesel that emit carbon monoxide. Studies have shown that it also weighs less than hydrocarbon-based fuels and burns faster than conventional gasoline.

So when can you expect to buy a car that uses water as a green energy source? Hopefully in the next 10 to 20 years. It is really up to the automakers because all we can do is wait until a better and clear car hits the dealership.

Right now, the best option we have are electric cars. Since its introduction in 1999, more people are using it because they don’t want to spend anymore for gasoline that could hit an all time high of more than $110 per barrel.

If water as a green energy source can be used to power a car, why don’t we do the same for solar power which has been around much longer?

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nbaxi is based in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India, and is a Reporter for Allvoices.
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