Hydrogen Fuel: Now and In the Future

April 3, 2018

 

 

Hydrogen-- the lightest and most abundant element on Earth. It exists in everything from water to stars, and it has the potential to fuel our planet. Today hydrogen fuel is used mostly in rockets and space expeditions, but it is becoming more and more common in everyday things such as cars. How it works is pretty simple. The hydrogen is combusted using a fuel cell and the only major byproduct is H2O, water. Although hydrogen fuel is great in theory: its very light, the atom is abundant, completely eco friendly, etc., there are a lot of logistical problems. One of the most prominent problems is that sole hydrogen gas does not occur naturally. Although hydrogen is all over the place, it is almost always attached to other molecules. This makes the process of hydrogen fuel slightly more difficult, because pure, combustible gas is required to properly fuel anything. The most practical solution is electrolysis: separating the atoms of molecules. This is completely possible and not at all dangerous when using water, and theoretically the oceans have enough water that this would be no problem, but it is still a time consuming process. Another problem for everyday use of hydrogen fuel is refueling. Similar to gasoline, hydrogen needs to be refueled every couple of 100 miles or so. As of right now, California is the only state with public hydrogen fuel stations. Because they are so few, hydrogen refueling is expensive and unpractical.

Although the practicality of hydrogen fuel for everyday use is low, it is ever increasing. Everyday, new solutions are being found to make it more efficient and accessible. With greener energy on the rise, everyone is looking for easy, clean ways to fuel the world, and, very likely, when hydrogen fuel becomes easier, it will be one of these ways.

 

“5 Fast Facts about Hydrogen and Fuel Cells.” Energy.gov

 

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