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Hybrid Cars: The Future of Air Pollution Control

Essay by review  •  September 27, 2010  •  Research Paper  •  1,857 Words (8 Pages)  •  1,692 Views

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The current vehicles that are powered by gasoline pollute, but as technologies improve and the human way of life changes alternatively powered vehicles enter the automotive industry. These vehicles developed to achieve better gas mileage and to help slow the production of the gasses that cause Global Warming. The hybrid vehicle is one of the newest and most popular alternatively powered vehicle. Hybrid electric vehicles are energy efficient cars or trucks that run on an internal combustion engine of a gas vehicle with the battery and electric motor of an electric vehicle. This results in twice the fuel economy of gas vehicles. These hybrid electric vehicles consume fewer natural resources than gas vehicles and produce almost no emission fumes compared to the standard gas vehicle. Hybrid cars are one solution to preserving air quality for the future.

Hybrid electric cars were created because of the shortfall in battery technology. The batteries that were being made could not produce enough power. These batteries would not sustain long trips with the car. To work around this and onboard generator, powered by an internal combustion engine could be used for long trips. These cars became known as hybrid electric vehicles that are now being mass-produced by companies like Toyota and Honda. When the vehicle starts and travels at city street speeds less than 30 miles per hour the electric motor does the greatest amount of the work. As the cars power sources begins to lose some of its energy the backup gasoline engine starts. This function is similar to how gasoline cars work, with the alternator using the engine's power to recharge the battery. After the power supply is replenished the gasoline engine shuts down. Also the gasoline engine is used to power the vehicle as it reaches the higher speeds where the added horsepower is needed. Usually the speed at which the gasoline engine starts is in the 30 mile per hour range. Even as the gasoline engine runs the electric motor continues to provide power for the vehicle. This vehicle combination in my opinion is beneficial economically and environmentally. Using the hybrid electric vehicle will reduce smog-forming pollutants and cut emissions of global-warming pollutants by a third to a half. The average gas vehicle will pose substantial economic, environmental and energy security issue for the U.S. and all nations. When the hybrid operation schedule is biased more toward the energy storage system, relying more on the battery than on the genset, emission levels become more like those of an battery electric vehicle which has a zero emission reading level.

The hybrid electric cars have several advantages over the gas guzzling cars that are already out there. The hybrid cars greatest advantage is that they almost release zero emissions into the atmosphere. These cars use their brakes to regenerate power to the batteries. When the car is slowing down it takes the energy being released when slowing the car down. The result is a use of energy that does not require the car to be plugged in. The cars reduce the dependency on fossil fuels because they are run on alternative fuels. By combining gasoline with electric power, hybrids will have the same or greater range than traditional combustion engines.

Hybrid electric cars are normally divided into the subtypes of either series or parallel, which refers to the way in which the engine supplies power to the propulsion system. In the series hybrid, a heat engine powers a generator, which either charges the battery or supplies power directly to the propulsion circuit and thereby reduces demand on the batter. In a parallel hybrid, the heat engine delivers mechanical power directly to the drive train, and the generator is eliminated. The series hybrid is used mostly in the design of today's hybrids, because of the lighter, smaller, and more powerful gensets that have been developed. Energy and power requirements are based on a multiple of driving schedules that include power/duration plots of acceleration, cruise, and total trip energy demands for each driving schedule.

The environmental benefits of a hybrid electric vehicle depend on the design of the hybrid power system. Designs using combustion engine for onboard electrical generation and an operating schedule that is heavily biased toward the engine/generator system (genset). This produce the greatest amount of harmful emissions, but when operating normally they produce almost zero emissions making them the most efficient environmental breakthrough in reducing pollution from gasoline cars. The hybrid requires less strain on the motor because of the way it works off a generator which reduce strain on the motor and with less strain there is less emissions produced and therefore helping the problem of air pollution. Gasoline vehicles release harmful chemicals, or pollutants through their tailpipes. These chemicals, such as oxides of nitrogen and carbon dioxide are produced through the combustion of fossil fuels. Besides the addition to causing smog, these vehicles place a large role in contributing to global warming and affect the health of the people. Hybrid electric vehicles emit fewer of these pollutants into the air that people breath. If the hybrids can get into the market now the effect that they will have can have a big impact on the quality of air in the future.

There has been a problem with the greenhouse gases and there needs to be a way to reduce this problem so that it is not the destruction of this planet. "If growth in global emissions continues unabated, the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide (Co2) and other greenhouse gases is likely to double relative to it pre-industrial level midway through the 21st century and continue to rise thereafter to levels not seen in 50 million years" (Beharrell and Toomey 1). The problems of this could be devastating to all people on the planet and could cause rising water levels and severe weather events. To try to do this the Kyoto Protocol was adopted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) which is an agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by clearly defined reduction targets. This will bring about a large amount of research into reducing the problem of emissions gases from cars that are causes so much damage to the atmosphere.

The Kyoto Protocol is target to a few greenhouse gases. These gases are Co2, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons (HFC's), perfluorocarbons (PFC's), and sulphur hexafluoride. The Kyoto Protocol states that "Article 3(1) stipulates that Annex 1 countries must ensure that their aggregate greenhouse gas emissions do not exceed their assigned amount, but

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