New SAT Reading Practice Test 53: Hydrogen Passage

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Hydrogen Passage

Scientists worldwide have been working
diligently to advance hydrogen as a renewable
energy source. Hydrogen, the most abundant
element in the universe, is found primarily with
05oxygen in water. Because it can be safely used as
fuel, it is a candidate for gasoline replacement in
passenger vehicles.
The potential benefits to moving away from
petroleum-based fuel are plentiful. Since hydrogen
10can be produced within the United States, discovering
ways to safely and economically switch to hydrogen
fuel would drastically reduce our dependency on
other petroleum-producing nations. In addition
to making us more independent, hydrogen produces
15no pollution, including greenhouse gasses, when
used as fuel. For this reason alone, forward-thinking
scientists have made it a priority to invent new ways to
use hydrogen.
Until now, there have been several challenges
20preventing hydrogen from becoming a mainstream
form of clean energy. In the United States, engines
that run on hydrogen are much more expensive
than gasoline. Additionally, it is difficult to store
enough hydrogen to get comparable mileage to a
25gasoline vehicle. However, these factors have not
been the biggest drawback in producing hydro-
gen for use in fuel cells; the biggest drawback has
been that fossil fuels were needed to generate large
amounts of hydrogen. Relying on fossil fuels to
30produce this element nearly negates the environ-
mental benefit behind the concept.
Recently, a new method has been discovered,
allowing scientists to create large quantities of the
element using lower amounts of energy derived
35from renewable sources. As in traditional methods,
scientists employ electrolysis, a process during
which electricity is used to break the bonds between
the atoms found in water by passing a current
through the water via a semiconductor. Once the
40water molecules are broken into separate hydrogen
and oxygen atoms, both are released as individual
gasses and the hydrogen can be harvested.
When people think of solar power, huge panels
usually come to mind, the type of panels that could
45not be used to power consumer vehicles in a way
equivalent to gasoline. However, scientists have
recently been successful at employing solar power as
the catalyst in electrolysis, harvesting energy from
the sun and using it to break apart water molecules.
50The same scientists who made this achievement then
built a semiconductor out of affordable, oxide-based
materials. When these two advances are coupled,
they also reduce the economic and environmental
cost of generating and processing hydrogen.
55Another bonus to this new method of produc-
tion is that it is significantly more efficient than
older production methods. The team of researchers
attained the most efficient solar-to-fuel conversion to
date, and they did it without using cost-prohibitive
There are still several challenges to be overcome
before hydrogen is a viable gasoline replacement.
This new method of creation, though, is a huge
step in the right direction. There are many ongoing
65research initiatives that aim to make hydrogen
extraction even more cost-effective, as well as easy
to store. When these issues are solved, hydrogen will
become a fuel that works for humanity and the earth
at the same time.

1. With which of the following statements would the author most likely agree?

  • A. Scientists should consider the final cost to consumers when exploring alternatives to petroleum-based fuels.
  • B. The development of hydrogen fuel for automobiles will give a boost to the economy in the United States.
  • C. Safety concerns surrounding hydrogen used as fuel pose the biggest problem for scientists studying alternative energy.
  • D. Gasoline must be eliminated as a source of fuel for automobiles within the next decade.

2. Which choice provides the best evidence for the answer to the previous question?

  • A. Lines 5-7 ("Because it … vehicles")
  • B. Lines 9-13 ("Since hydrogen … nations")
  • C. Lines 21-23 ("In the United States … gasoline")
  • D. Lines 52-69 ("When these … time")

3. According to the passage, which of the following is true of hydrogen?

  • A. It exists mostly with oxygen in water molecules in its natural state.
  • B. It is more efficient than solar power as an energy source.
  • C. It can be used as fuel in most types of engines.
  • D. It can be easily harvested from water molecules.

4. As used in line 2, "diligently" most nearly means

  • A. impulsively.
  • B. persistently.
  • C. rapidly.
  • D. perpetually.

5. The passage most strongly suggests that which of the following is true of petroleum-based fuel?

  • A. Its cost is higher than most alternative fuels.
  • B. Its use has a negative effect on the environment.
  • C. It cannot be produced in the United States.
  • D. It is more efficient than other types of fuel.

6. Which choice provides the best evidence for the answer to the previous question?

  • A. Lines 1-3 ("Scientists … source")
  • B. Lines 13-16 ("In addition … as fuel")
  • C. Lines 55-57 ("Another bonus … methods")
  • D. Lines 57-60 ("The team … materials")

7. In paragraph 2, why does the author explain that hydrogen energy will reduce our dependency on petroleum-producing nations?

  • A. To illustrate why scientists in other countries are not working to develop hydrogen energy
  • B. To highlight how hydrogen energy is superior to other forms of alternative energy
  • C. To suggest how hydrogen energy can help protect the environment
  • D. To clarify why the development of hydrogen as a fuel source is important

8. As used in line 34, "derived" most nearly means

  • A. gained.
  • B. received.
  • C. obtained.
  • D. copied.

9. The passage most strongly suggests that which of the following is true about methods of extracting hydrogen from water?

  • A. Much additional research is needed to perfect hydrogen extraction.
  • B. Scientific breakthroughs will soon make hydrogen extraction unnecessary.
  • C. Scientists are on course to develop a safe way to extract hydrogen within one year.
  • D. It is unlikely that hydrogen extraction will ever be done in an environmentally friendly way.

10. It can be reasonably inferred from the information in the passage and the graphic that

  • A. compressed natural gas is the most environmentally friendly form of automobile fuel.
  • B. scientists are making great advances in the development of hydrogen as a fuel for automobiles.
  • C. electricity produces less air pollution than hydrogen and compressed natural gas.
  • D. switching from gasoline to hydrogen to fuel automobiles would significantly reduce air pollution.