Hydrogen Energy – Closing the Gap Between Human Mobility and Environmental Compatibility
The scarcity of fossil fuels and the abundance of climate change should is forcing the world to completely rethink the idea of oil based energy. As a human community we need to look to renewable sources of energy as a priority if we wish to keep to keep up with energy supply and the industrial progress we currently enjoy. Looking toward hydrogen as a source of energy that bridges that gap is one solution that we cannot rule out.
One of the most important factors that increases the green factor of hydrogen as a source of energy is that it can be made from glycerine. Glycerine is also easy to handle, available year-round and non-toxic. Decisive for CO2 savings is that glycerine is obtained from renewable resources and occurs in particularly large quantities as a by-product of biodiesel manufacturing. Biodiesel and the by-product glycerine are obtained from plant oils. Even though the waste from Hydrogen production is natural and completely biodegradable, there is very little waste as most of the content is made into earth friendly energy that is kind to the planet.
Hydrogenpowered vehicles are already making a contribution to climate protection. The only thing coming out of the exhaust pipe is steam. But these vehicles are only as environmentally friendly as the fuel that powers them. Although hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, it only occurs naturally within chemical bonds such as hydrocarbons like methane or water. It takes a great deal of energy to split these very stable compounds. If the electricity required to electrolyse water is generated by coal-fired power plants, the overall hydrogen production process still releases significant amounts of CO2. Natural gas reforming – currently the most common method of producing hydrogen – also emits greenhouse gases. But if the H2 is obtained from renewable raw materials, fuel-cell vehicles running on this eco-friendly gas have a carbon footprint 70 percent lower than conventional diesel cars. The development of this new technology is laying the foundations for sustainable human mobility.
The key to using hydrogen as power is the fuel cell. A hydrogen fuel cell converts the hydrogen energy into electricity. Fuel cells can be used in cars, and to provide electricity to rural areas with no power lines. To power a car, the electricity produced from hydrogen energy flows into the battery, acting much like today’s hybrid electric cars. Currently hydrogen power is mostly used to power metal processing and recycling plants, food manufacturing plants and to power NASA’s space programs.
Hydrogen is one of the most abundant materials that naturally occurs on the earth and learning to harness its energy makes it one of the most important renewable energy we need to pursue. As the processes and sources are refined it will become more available and more useful for personal use. It’s important to support those industries that use hydrogen so that we can invest in a renewable, green future.