Essay: Use of fossil fuels and global warming

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  • Subject area(s): Environmental studies essays
  • Reading time: 4 minutes
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  • Published on: October 29, 2015
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  • Use of fossil fuels and global warming
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Due to global warming and other ill-effects of conventional energy sources, there is a need to produce energy by clean and environmental friendly ways. Fuel cell is one of the effective solution to produce energy without polluting the environment. There are various types of fuel cells viz. solid oxide, proton exchange membrane, alkaline fuel cells, etc. We are going to discuss more about solid oxide fuel cells. A solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) is a device which generates electricity by using chemical energy stored in the fuel viz. hydrogen or hydrocarbons. SOFC consists of three parts ‘ electrolyte, anode and cathode. SOFCs have fuel flexibility, are low cost and have long-term stability. Operating temperature is the main disadvantage of the SOFC. To overcome this disadvantage, nanomaterials are used for electrolytes, anodes and cathodes of SOFC in order to improve their performance. Various fabrication and preparation methods are used to integrate different nanomaterials in the different parts of SOFCs. In this research, different fabrication methods along with their applications are discussed. [1, 2]
‘ Problem statement or gap:
The high use of fossil fuels like coal, gas and oil in last 100 years has increased the carbon dioxide and other poisonous gases emissions from power generation devices. This is considered to be an important factor for some of the environmental problems like global warming. The energy demand is always increasing and fossil fuels are depleting at faster rate. The power generation by using fossil fuels would not be sustainable. Thus, there is a need to find alternative or renewable energy sources that can meet this demand. The fuel cell is considered to be the one of the efficient and clean power generating device. Now, as we are considering fuel cells as replacement for the current power generating devices, the efficiency and durability of the fuel cells should be ideally equal or higher than those devices. To increase the efficiency and durability, different nanomaterials can be used in three different parts i.e. electrolyte, cathode and anode of fuel cells. Thus, in summary, there is need for better understanding of how these nanomaterials can be integrated on these parts in an efficient, fast and low cost ways. [1, 2, 4]
The research questions that the paper is going to address are:
1. What are some of the efficient methods to integrate the nanoparticles?
2. What are some of the applications of above methods along with the results to show the power output and durability of the fuel cells? [2, 3, 4, 5]
3. What future work needs to be done in order to improve the long term performance of the fuel cells? [6]
‘ Objectives of your research:
The objective of the current study is to provide a comprehensive review of literatures related to the application and advantages of each fabrication method of SOFCs. The fabrication methods discussed in the current study are photolithography process, sintering process and infiltration process. These processes are used for fabrication of nanomaterials on electrolyte, anode and cathode respectively. In this research, the methods are discussed using one nanomaterial for each fabrication method. The nanomaterial used for photolithography is YSZ (yttrium stabilized zirconia) [1, 2], for sintering is NiO/YSZ [3, 5] and for infiltration is metal salt nitrate [4]. These materials would increase the power output and performance of SOFCs. Different nanomaterials can also be used other than the mentioned, for improving the performance. The long term goal of the research is to help the researchers to understand the impact of use of nanomaterials in SOFCs.
‘ Expected solution or anticipated results of your research:
The results of this research will be shared in a form of paper, power point and poster presentation. The results would primarily include the schematic diagrams of the fabrication methods. They would also include the preparation methods for a particular nanomaterial used in the fabrication. The results for nanomaterial in electrolyte would include tables and graphs related to performance of SOFCs with respect to crystalline sizes, temperature, durability and cell voltage. For anode, the results would include performance of fuel cells with respect to temperature and cell voltage. The results for cathode would include performance with respect to temperature. In summary, the performance and durability of SOFCs are expected to increase with addition of nanomaterials.
‘ Timetable for completion:
February 28, 2015 ‘ Literature review and start research from the reference papers.
March 13, 2015 ‘ Proposal for Final Project.
March 27, 2015 ‘ Progress Report for Final Project.
April 17, 2015 ‘ Present Results in Poster Presentation.
April 24, 2015 ‘ Submit Final Paper.
‘ Your qualifications:
I am pursuing Master of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering. I am writing this research paper as a part of curriculum for TCM 460.
‘ Limitations, discussion, conclusion:
In this research paper, we will see how nanomaterials can be used by using fabrication methods for electrolyte, anode and cathode of SOFCs. Introducing these nanomaterials will increase performance and durability of SOFCs. But, there are some limitations of this research. We are going to see only limited number of fabrication methods for integration of nanomaterials in fuel cells and only one application of the nanomaterial used for electrolyte, anode and cathode. There might be several other fabrication methods and nanomaterials which are not covered in this research paper. Degradation of performance after a certain number of working hours of SOFCs should also be considered while doing future work. [6]

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