Is hydrogen the technology of the future?
When I first realized that the world is transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable energy, I fell in love with hydrogen technologies.
Splitting the most naturally abundant compound in the world, H2O, would be the ideal thing to fuel the future. However, there are really dangerous details to how this water must be split and the energy requirement is quite ridiculous.
What do the experts say?
The hydrogen fuel prospects are inherently limited because it takes too much energy (=cost) to make and distribute pure hydrogen (for fuel cell use).
Hydrogen is not all that environmentally friendly either if it is made from methane (making carbon dioxide) or made by electrolysis of water using electricity from coal-fired or gas-fired power plants (making carbon dioxide and other pollutants).
Fuel cells (and perhaps other technologies which use hydrogen) fill certain niches in which batteries cannot compete favorably and the opposite is also true.
Argonne laboratories has demonstrated that a transit vehicle powered by a hybrid arrangement of a fuel cell power-plant and batteries has a lower cost of ownership/operation compared to a battery-only vehicle.
This arrangement is called a “fuel cell range extender”.
All of the developers, hydrogen producers, bio-fuel producers, battery developers, etc. are racing as fast as they can to expand their acceptability to the markets. Hopefully we are nearing a time when each sector does not feel so threatened by the others or insist that it has THE answer.
What else is going on in the Hydrogen world?
- Magnegas for instance, uses waste, polluted, contaminated oils and waxes to produce Magnegas Hydrogen Plasma- Generated Fuel= direct replacement for Acetylene, and it can generate it’s own electricity to run the process.
- Siemens opened a Hydrogen plant to convert renewable energy into hydrogen (split water into hydrogen and oxygen)
- Boeing and NASA collaborate to explore the possibilities of Hydrogen Energy
- Japan is already transforming to a ‘hydrogen society’
- There is already a new way to produce hydrogen from clean, renewable energy sources
- Energy storage seems possible says a StartUp in Australia. They promote a clean ‘battery’ Hydrogen Storage Solution
Even with Nuclear
Nuclear power actually has a unique synergy with hydrogen production. It turns out you can run a solid oxide fuel cell reversibly, using heat and electrons to produce hydrogen. Solid oxide electrolyzers! http://www1.eere.energy.gov/hydrogenandfuelcells/pdfs/iid1_milliken.pdf We’ll see what happens.
“The future’s not ours to see.” Hydrogen based technologies may not be dominating energy technology in 30 or 50 years, they may find certain niche market. It still holds potentials and has technical barrier to overcome.
- Hydrogen Power, Pros & Cons
- Airbus patents supersonic plane on hydrogen
- Siemens opens plant for sustainable hydrogen production
- Can hydrogen energy be stored?
- Boeing and NASA cooperate exploring Hydrogen Energy
- The story of hydrogen with solar power
Have you seen this?
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