Hydrogen Fuel from Renewable Resources
Using renewable energy sources such as solar energy, wind, and
geothermal and hydroelectric systems to produce hydrogen fuel
is the driving force behind the hydrogen economy idea.
This method of producing energy basically
involves producing hydrogen fuel from one of the most abundant
substances on the planet: water.
The resultant hydrogen fuel can then be used to provide power
to all sorts of land and water vehicles, as well as electric plants.
When used in fuel cells, hydrogen fuel has the side benefit of
producing small amounts of heat and pure water, both of which
can be used for other purposes or simply recycled. But the most
significant advantages of hydrogen fuel from renewable sources
are that virtually no toxins or pollutants are released into the
atmosphere, and that they can help countries reduce their dependence
on costly petroleum products from foreign countries.
Most of the processes of producing hydrogen from renewable sources
rely on the electrolysis of water into its component gases, namely
hydrogen and oxygen. These processes use hydroelectric, solar,
wind, or geothermal generators to provide the electricity that
is needed to split water into its separate components.
The idea of using hydrogen as a source of fuel has actually been
considered for many years, long before it came into actual usage
in fact. The main obstacles to using hydrogen as a fuel source
were initially the costs and difficulties involved in producing
hydrogen efficiently, as well as the absence of feasible means
of fuel transport and storage.
One solution that has come up in recent years is the fuel cell,
which has the notable advantages of not having any moving parts
nor being subjected to gas passing through it, making it virtually
immune to wear and tear. In fact, it is estimated that a typical
fuel cell will go on working for 100 years or more.
As mentioned previously, the primary method of using renewable
sources as a means to obtain hydrogen fuel from water is electrolysis,
which basically involves using these energy sources to course
electricity through water, thereby causing to break down into
its oxygen and hydrogen, the latter of which is used as fuel for
car engines and power plants.
This is a more cost-effective means of producing energy than
systems that rely on fossil fuels, and it has the further advantage
of being largely free of gaseous emissions that have been determined
to be a leading cause of atmospheric pollution and of the depletion
of the ozone layer.
Aside from its benefits to the environment, hydrogen fuel from
renewable sources will also reduce the reliance of expensive imports
of oil from foreign countries, and this can have a very significant
beneficial effect on the economies of countries that utilize such
systems. While the widespread use of hydrogen fuel derived from
renewable sources is still a ways off into the future, there is
no denying that such technologies hold a lot of promise.