Hydrogen Fuel
Hydrogen Fuel Advantages
Hydrogen Fuel Algae
Hydrogen Fuel Artificial Photosynthesis
Hydrogen Fuel Disadvantages
Hydrogen Fuel Electrolysis of Water
Hydrogen Fuel Natural Gas
Hydrogen Fuel Production
Hydrogen Fuel Renewable Energy
Hydrogen Fuel Sources


Hydrogen Fuel Sources

Among the most common hydrogen fuel sources utilized today are water, natural gas, and hydrogen rich chemicals. Most of the hydrogen production in the United States today actually utilizes natural gas, which is the main component of the steam reformation process.

It is expected that the use of steam reformation, and by extension, natural gas, will continue to be the main hydrogen fuel production method over the next few years. Nevertheless, various research studies are underway, all of which aim to produce hydrogen fuel from other sustainable resources.
water splitting

Among the processes up for consideration are fermentation, biological, solar thermal and photoelectrochemical water-splitting, biomass and waste conversion, and renewable electrolysis.

Today, one of the most promising fields of study in hydrogen fuel involve biological water splitting, which is essentially a process in which photosynthetic microbes are used to derive hydrogen from water by utilizing light energy. While such photobiological technologies are considered to be quite promising, one issue that has come up is the sensitivity of oxygen to the hydrogen-evolving enzyme system, mainly because the process results in the production of oxygen along with hydrogen.

Photoelectrochemical water splitting is now being heralded as a viable production alternative, since this is by far the most environmentally friendly way to produce hydrogen fuel. This process utilizes sunlight to split water into its hydrogen and oxygen components.

This method of hydrogen fuel production largely sidesteps the cost and difficulty associated with traditional solar-to-hydrogen conversion methods, and it is has been estimated to be as much as 12.4-percent more efficient. Further research in this area involves pinpointing more efficient and less costly materials that are better able to withstand the stresses of being submerged in water.

Some other promising sources of hydrogen fuel are biomass and other similar waste matter. Using these waste products, hydrogen fuel can be produced by way of a pyrolysis process, which essentially involves gasifying biomass and consumer waste products such as peanut shells, plastic, grease and biomass that is produced specifically for such purposes.

This process results in the production of a liquid bio-oil, which contains substances that can further be processed in order to derive a variety of chemicals and fuels, hydrogen being only one of them.

Water is of course a widely available source of hydrogen-and subsequently, of hydrogen fuel-via a process called solar thermal water splitting. This process involves the use of sunlight, which when concentrated produces temperatures sufficient to split methane into its hydrogen and carbon components. This process has been earmarked as one of the most environmentally friendly ways to produce hydrogen fuel.

While solar power as an energy source is of course prone to variances, the high reaction rate of these processes means that hydrogen fuel is also produced at a much more efficient rate, and this makes solar thermal water splitting a viable hydrogen fuel production method in spite of its inherent drawbacks.

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