Hydrogen, The Future of Energy?

March 10th, 2016
Hydrogen, The Future of Energy?

The element most in abundance in the Universe and on earth is Hydrogen. In the presence of oxygen and heat it can be used to produce electricity with the only waste product being water.

With global warming being a cause for major concern for political leaders and climatologists, it would seem hydrogen would be the perfect fuel.

It then begs the question why haven’t we moved to hydrogen powered vehicles and used hydrogen to heat and power our homes?

The answer unbelievably is fossil fuel was here first.

Fossil fuel was easily and cheaply accessible, it powered nations from rural farming economies to high output industrial economies. However, the cumulative downside effect of fossil fuel on our climate and environment was only realised later.

It was in the 70’s during the oil crises that people looked at alternatives to fossil fuel, and there was hope at that time that hydrogen could replace our dependence on fossil fuel.

Then with climate change being a hot topic there was a push towards electricity as the alternative to fossil fuel.

Now we are seeing hydrogen as a fuel source making a comeback.

Fuel cell tech

Hydrogen fuel cell for cars has been around since the 50’s but was expensive and heavy. However, Japanese car manufacturers, in particular, Honda, Toyota, Nissan and Korea’s Hyundai, believe they have finally made the fuel cell commercially viable and much more efficient. Japanese car make Toyota is rolling out fuel electric vehicle (FCEV) which will have a range of between 3-400 miles and the vehicle can be refilled in minutes.

Pumping stations

For the technology to succeed and to wean consumers off their dependence on fossil fuel there needs to be a network of pumping stations, in the UK there is only a handful and they’re mainly in the South East of England.

BOC along with other leading companies are asking for subsidies from the government to help develop a network of hydrogen fuel filling stations as it is currently not commercially viable.

Is Hydrogen fuel Green?

95% of hydrogen fuel comes from “cracking” hydrocarbon such as methane which then produces the greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide.

More environmentally friendly hydrogen is produced from electrolysis. Under electrolysis water is split into its constituent parts oxygen and water.

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