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Homework Help: Hydrogen-powered car relations to science?

  1. Jan 10, 2010 #1
    Hi, I am in grade 10 and for my final project, I am writing a report on hydrogen cars. We need to relate hydrogen cars to chemistry, ecology, climate change, and light and geometric optics.

    Can someone tell me how hydrogen powered cars relate to each of these? I am really unsure and need help...

    In ecology, all we really did were ecosystems, and nitrogen cycles, water cycles, and various species. In light and optics, we did all the ways light is produced, all the diagrams, reflection, refraction, etc. And in chemistry, we covered a lot of compounds, and the periodic table. In climate change, we are now learning about water and climate, and also global warming (I have already related it to global warming though)

    Please help :) Thank you soooo much!
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 10, 2010 #2


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    Gold Member

    Wow. I think they should make you a professor after writing such a paper.

    Let's see....

    This would have two parts I think.
    1. How are we going to make hydrogen, and
    2. How are we going to convert the hydrogen into energy to push our cars.

    I know of only two ways to extract hydrogen: electrolysis and steam reforming.
    And I know of only two ways of converting hydrogen into energy: burning it with oxygen, and hydrogen fuel cells.
    There may be more ways to do both, but I think these are the main ways.

    This is tough, but you should look at the effects of burning hydrogen and air.
    Air has lots of nitrogen, so you may be creating nitrogen oxides. (This also falls under the topic of chemistry. You'll need to know how they are formed, and why they are bad(back to ecology again))
    I don't know anything about steam reforming in the production of hydrogen except that they use petroleum products, so the byproducts of that process should be looked into.
    And it may be a very silly way of producing hydrogen to power cars in the first place. You would have to determine how much energy was used to extract the hydrogen and how much energy could be extracted from the hydrogen by burning it. (but I think this falls under the chemistry heading.)

    I believe you said you've already figured that out. Good job!

    I honestly don't know how this relates to hydrogen powered cars except in possibly the most roundabout way. Sunlight reacts with nitrous oxides in some manner in the atmosphere.(kind of chemistry and ecology related)

    Anyways, good luck!
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