Hydrogen is an element that exists in abundance all over the earth. It can be found in water and natural and renewable matter such as plants, compost materials, even algae. Thanks to its abundance, it has potential to be used for a number of applications, including as a fuel. Hydrogen can be converted into hydrogen gas fuel for many of the same uses as fossil fuels are used. Hydrogen gas fuel in its purest form must be separated from the other elements that bond it through some chemical process. When hydrogen gas fuel is blended with pure oxygen and ignited the only resulting emissions are heat and water, you can’t get much greener than that!
There are benefits and drawbacks to each method of extracting hydrogen. Some methods create harmful emissions during refining, and some means of production are less costly than others. The steam methane reforming method is the one most widely used in the United States at present, and it works by heating natural gas to specific temperatures so that hydrogen can be separated from the rest of the natural gas.
It will take quite a lot of capital to establish the infrastructure required to make hydrogen gas fuel on a scale to satisfy a large part of the world’s energy needs. Hydrogen can be separated from water through electrolysis, a process which passes an electric current through the water. Using electricity produced from windmills, solar panels, or other sources will allow hydrogen generation on a much larger and environmentally-friendly scale. Choosing a location for a hydrogen production facility raises geographic concerns. Because there are no greenhouse gas emissions in producing hydrogen gas fuel, the electrolysis method is worth the investment.
Hydrogen is very flexible and suitable as fuel since it can be stored and easily transported in the form of gas or liquid. Hydrogen fuel can be transported in vapor form from its refinery site to up to a distance of 200 miles. For longer distances up to 1000 miles, hydrogen is transported in super-insulated tanks in liquid form.
Hydrogen will produce more energy per unit weight than any other fuel known. Hydrogen gas fuel gives more than triple the energy of the equivalent amount of gasoline, and does not produce any of gasoline’s undesirable emissions like sulfur and carbon dioxide. Hydrogen gas fuel yields energy at a rate of six times more than an equal amount of coal.
Hydrogen gas fuel remains efficient through a much wider combination of air fuel mixtures than gasoline. This results in greater combustion efficiency. Hydrogen gas fuel would have a rating equivalent to an octane rating of one hundred thirty, exceeding the highest octane gasoline currently available at the gas pump.
Just about anything from cell phones, scooters, spacecraft and even entire cities can be powered by hydrogen gas fuel. Vehicles for every day use can be produced or retrofitted to utilize this fuel. As gas prices rise, hydrogen gas fuel as an alternative fuel may soon become a reality. With the right infrastructure in place and it’s abundance on the planet, it may solve one of the most vexing problems that the planet faces, producing an environmentally friendly fuel.
Author: Adrian FletcherThis author has published 6 articles so far.