Hydrogen Fuel Now
Hydrogen fuel is said to be an energy carrier. Hydrogen fuel
is also said to be the future since when it burns it gives off
zero emissions. Hydrogen fuel is said to be an energy carrier
since it H2 occurs only in very small quantities in nature. It
has to be released from its chemical bond with other atoms before
it can be used.
Most of the hydrogen fuel produced
today comes from steam reforming of natural gas. Natural
gas is an energy source as is coal and petroleum since they
occur in natural and can be used as if (for the most part)
to create energy.
But, fossil fuels are one of the major contributors to greenhouse
gases that cause global warming and unwanted climate change. Hydrogen
fuel is the answer to many. When hydrogen fuel "burns"
in a fuel cells the only emissions are a little steam and heat.
When hydrogen fuel burns inside an internal combustion engine
it is a near zero emissions process. Because most hydrogen fuel
is produced from natural gas today, the "well to wheel"
process is not as clean as it could be.
Electric car advocates say the EV's are zero emissions as well,
but most electricity today is produced from coal fire power plants
which produce much more emissions into the atmosphere than natural
Hydrogen fuel can be produced more cleanly by using renewable
energy. Wind turbines, solar panels, hydro-electric and geothermal
are already producing hydrogen from the electrolysis of water.
As many people already know, running an electrical current
through water (H2O) separates the hydrogen (H2) from the oxygen
(O). Most fuel cell vehicles today, use compress hydrogen gas
(and a few use liquid hydrogen).
The compress hydrogen fuel is pumped into the fuel cell
vehicles at either 5,000 psi (360 bar) or 10,000 psi (700
bar) into some form of sealed tank. Hydrogen fuel and ambient
air (containing oxygen) is then run through a fuel cell
to create electricity to run the vehicle.
Most fuel cell cars today are also hybrid vehicles, taking
advantage of both technologies. Hydrogen fuel cell cars
are in fact electric cars as they have electric motors and
do not use traditional powertrains of internal combustion
engine and transmission.
Hydrogen fuel is seen as the future of clean, green alternative
energy that will one day become mainstream energy. The drawbacks
right now are that hydrogen fueling stations are in limited
locations and fuel cell vehicles are not in production yet.
The target for commercializing fuel cell vehicles has been set
at 2015 by many of the major automakers. Germany is making a particular
push right now to build stations to dispense hydrogen fuel to
meet this deadline. Japan is also making a push and to a lesser
degree so is the U. S., especially in population centers like
Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York City.