Gas-electric hybrids use a gas tank, gas engine, electric motor, generator, batteries, and transmission (see fig. The electric motor can draw energy from the batteries, and also act as a generator to generate energy to store in the batteries. The Toyota Prius has a radically different transmission; other hybrids have conventional transmissions. Although most hybrid cars are petrol-electric hybrids, there is the possibility of producing hybrids from other technologies. For instance, petrol-hydrogen hybrids such as the Mazda Premacy Hydrogen RE Hybrid, which features a transverse hydrogen rotary engine (Haldis 2007).
This hydrogen hybrid is the world’ s first hydrogen-petrol dual-fuel system, and was being road tested in Japan in June 2008. The transverse mounting of the hydrogen engine, instead of the conventional longitudinal mounting, resulted in higher power output over a wide range of engine speeds (Mazda 2009). Hydrogen combustion energy is converted into electric energy to drive the motor. The hydrogen rotary engine developed by Mazda can run on both hydrogen and petrol fuel, and uses electronically controlled hydrogen gas injectors (see fig. This type of hybrid vehicleHydrogen fuel cells were first designed as a reverse electrolysis process.
In electrolysis, hydrogen and oxygen are split when an electric current is run through water. This process produces a separate supply of hydrogen gas and oxygen gas. In hydrogen fuel cells, the reverse process occurs: the hydrogen and oxygen gases are combined to produce electricity and water as a byproduct (see fig. This happens by using a catalyst, typically a metal or alloy. The hydrogen fuel is separated into its electrons and protons; the electrons are made to traverse a circuit, and the protons are recombined with the electrons and an oxidant to create wastewater. There are many different kinds of fuel cells, usually classified by the electrolyte they use.
The most promising for transportation include the polymer exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell and the solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC).
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