Engines in the motor vehicles must be replaced with batteries that consume less energy, are less polluting and more efficient.
Air pollution, water pollution, land pollution, and noise pollution, are some of the most pressing problems in today’s world. Some of the major causes of air pollution are:
- Smoke and the harmful poisonous gases released from industries into the environment
- Smoke emitted from the vehicles into the surroundings
- The smoke produced by the burning of fossil fuels, like coal and petroleum, etc.
- Enhanced use of insecticides, pesticides, and fertilizers for agricultural activities, letting out ammonia in the air
Economic times had stated that India has 22 cars per 1,000 individuals. According to the State of India's Environment (SoE) report, 2019, air pollution in India is responsible for 12.5 per cent of all deaths in the country. A greater understanding of the adverse impacts of air pollution on human health and other environmental aspects has led to extensive efforts being undertaken to bring air pollution under control.
Scientists have primarily focused on controlling the smoke that is emitted from the vehicles. Most of the currently used vehicles run on energy generated via the burning of petrol and diesel. These vehicles release significantly high amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the air.
Initially, research was focused on the development of hybrid engines that used biofuel, along with petrol or diesel. However, these engines exhibited limited driving range and required longer periods for charging of their batteries. This triggered research towards replacing the batteries with ‘fuel cells’ which do not release any smoke.
The older fuel cells could replace the gas engines, help in power generation and could recharge batteries. However, they were impractical because of their expensive nature. Hence, researchers modified the design of fuel cells to make them long-lasting and enable them to deliver a steady supply of electricity. Thus, cells that generate electricity from simple chemical reactions, like the reaction of hydrogen and oxygen to yield water, were considered. These were easier and cheaper to make.
Researchers hope that continued usage of fuel cells in hybrid vehicles will lead to greater production of energy and will make the operation of vehicles more economic. This may replace the gas engines and equip the vehicles with affordable, safe, dependable and cleaner source of electrical power. This may be the first step towards overcoming the enormous environmental harm and other problems associated with the internal combustion engine.
Conclusion- As an individual, a few steps can be taken from your end. Minimize the use of private vehicles and make use of vehicles that use CNG as fuel for travelling shorter distances. Buy vehicles which are made of advanced technology of engines that consume less fuel.
Editor: Dr Prajakta Dandekar Jain
- Hongtao Zhang, Xianguo Li, Xinzhi Liu, Jinyue Yan. Enhancing fuel cell durability for fuel cell plug-in hybrid electric vehicles through strategic power management. Applied Energy, 2019; 241: 483 DOI: 10.1016/j.apenergy.2019.02.040