Hydrogen Vehicles and Their Atmospheric Impact

Team: 73


Area of Science: Environmental Science

Interim: Problem Definition:
With the continual rise of pollution and the possibility of hydrogen vehicles as the new automobile technology, the impact of these vehicles comes into question. We intend to present a test to display whether or not hydrogen cars impact our environment positively. Will a large amount of hydrogen vehicle emissions (water vapor)affect our weather due to possible increased humidity?

Plan for Solving:
We intend to use Java to create a simulation of Dona Ana county. We will create a grid map to separate the area into significantly smaller sections. From there, we will record and observe several major roads, intersections, and highways that incorporate the replacement of regular cars with hydrogen cars. To detect the changes that the emitted water vapor may cause over the county, we intend to solve the Diffusion Equation over this grid using a finite difference method. We will also consider the weather factor of wind and its potential to spread emissions.

Present Progress:
Thus far we have obtained the amount of water vapor that hydrogen cars emit. We also have been conducting research on the general function of the hydrogen vehicles, which utilize fuel cells for their operation. We have found the appropriate diffusion equation to use in our simulation, and have also been learning more of the Java program and its relevance to solving our problem.

We hypothesize that the water vapor hydrogen vehicles emit (if these vehicles were to replace the internal combustion engine) will affect the humidity of the surrounding air.

Sources so far:

Climate System Modeling
Kevin E. Trenberth
Cambridge University Press
Copyright University Corporation for Atmospheric Research 1992

Team Members:

  Jane Kim
  Mihyun Hong
  Erica Swenson
  Brittany Atteberry
  Natalie Wells

Sponsoring Teacher: Donald Downs