Huge amounts of polluting gases are being released into the earth’s atmosphere by the large scale burning of fossil fuels or natural fuels found under the earth. These gases are the main culprits behind the phenomenon of global warming and other climatic changes.
In order to find cleaner fuels, scientists around the world are trying to find a fuel or source of energy which produces little or no pollution on being burnt.
Quite amazingly, a new technology points out that water can be used to generate electricity. But burning water? How is that possible?
Split water, burn water, get water
Actually, the idea is amazingly simple. Water is made out of hydrogen and oxygen. Scientists plan to make a cell (gadget which produces electricity by chemical reactions), which will break water down into its two components.
Take a close look at any cell, you will see that it has two sides. One side is marked with a ‘+’ and the other with a ‘-'. The side with the ‘+’ is called the anode and the other is the cathode. The fuel cell is also like that. In this, the hydrogen is passed though the anode and oxygen through the cathode. With the use of a catalyst (something that enables a chemical reaction), hydrogen produces a stream of electrons. This stream of electrons is nothing but electricity.
That is not the end of the story. When hydrogen reunites with oxygen it forms water all over again. Hence the end product of the electricity generation is pure clean water.
Scientists plan to create a cell which will be able to convert water into water and in the process create electricity as well. They have named this cell, the fuel cell. Along with other uses it can also be used to drive vehicles. In fact General Motors has unveiled the Precept concept car which works on a fuel cell.
Does that mean that we will soon be driving around in a vehicle that uses water instead of petrol to run it? Well, if so, then it will take a long time for this to become a reality.