Hydrogen Fuel Cells: Impacting More Than Just Cars Essay

Submitted By thewitchking21
Words: 1106
Pages: 5

22 February 2013
Hydrogen Fuel Cells: Impacting More Than Just Cars
Gas prices continue to increase and current alternatives are either ineffective or more costly; however, hydrogen fuel cells, when used in vehicles, have the potential to replace gasoline as a fuel source. One of the main benefits of vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cells is that they would bolster the United States economy. As well as strengthening the economy, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles would greatly reduce the amount of pollution created by burning fossil fuels. Besides the economic and environmental benefits of hydrogen powered cars, fuel cells are more feasible than other forms of alternative fuel making them a great candidate to replace the internal combustion engine. Though hydrogen fuel cells currently are not cost effective to produce, the economic and environmental benefits of vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cells, along with their potential to replace petroleum fueled vehicles are reasons enough for the United States government to redirect funds to the development of inexpensive hydrogen fuel cells. As an initial step, the United States government should invest resources to develop cost effective hydrogen fuel cell vehicles because they have more potential than electric cars to replace gasoline powered automobiles. Vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cells have proved to be as effective as gas-powered vehicles. For example, a Toyota Highlander powered by a hydrogen fuel cell was able to travel 533 kilometers without refueling (Tollefson par. 17); whereas, Craig Scott, manager of Toyota's advanced technologies group, pointed out that “electric vehicles… are unlikely to [travel] beyond a range of 150 to 250 kilometers on a single charge” making them inefficient when compared to vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cells (qtd. in Tollefson par. 20). Although some insist that electric cars are the future because they do not pollute and can be recharged anywhere there is an outlet, cars powered by hydrogen fuel cells also do not create pollution because their byproduct is water. In addition, electric cars take at least an hour to recharge, while cars powered by hydrogen can be refueled as quickly as cars powered by gasoline. Because of the detriments of electric cars, the government should redirect funds used for electric cars to the research and development of less expensive hydrogen fuel cells as well as the infrastructure to produce and distribute hydrogen for the fuel cells. Even though the government will need to invest large amounts of resources into this project, the economy will be bolstered by the creation of jobs through the development of this alternative source of energy for cars. Similar economic expansion occurred when President Lincoln signed the Pacific Railway Act of 1862 to build a railway to the Pacific Ocean (Fesmire and Janardhan 116). Firstly, facilities to produce and distribute hydrogen will need to be built resulting in an influx of job opportunities that will lower unemployment. Secondly, many car companies have promised to “have hydrogen fuel-cell cars… ready to go on sale by 2015”, therefore; more employees will be required to build these cars that will be in high demand due their lower operating cost when compared to gasoline powered vehicles (Woodyard par. 1). Thirdly, the money generated from the production and sale of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles will stay in the United States to boost our economy rather than being spent on foreign manufactured products. Lastly, if United States’ companies are able to develop cheaper hydrogen fuel cells than their competitors around the world, the American companies will be able to export their cars to other countries, thus bringing in even more money to the economy in the United States. Therefore, because of these economic benefits, the United States government should invest money into hydrogen fuel cell development in order to bring money back into its economy. Subsequently,