Problems With Hydrogen As A Fuel
Everywhere we turn, we are bombarded with messages in the media advising us as to the invariably precarious future of fossil fuels, how current levels of demand and consumption are no longer sustainable and cannot be maintained.
It is a sobering reality to be sure and what makes it even more so is the fact that there remains very little in the way of proper, reliable alternative fuel sources. At the moment, because there has been such a reliance upon fossil fuels, research into different energy sources has atrophied and stagnated.
As such then, this means that whilst there are various different forms of alternate energy available, they are all very much in the infancy of their lifecycle and as such then, riddled with design flaws and plagued by limitations that hinder their overall usefulness.
Hydrogen has been proposed as an alternate fuel source because it produces even more energy than petrol and fossil fuel based products; and produces absolutely no atmospheric pollutants at all, nor does it possess or pose any of the carcinogenic properties associated with petrol or ethanol.
However, the major drawback at present associated with hydrogen as a viable energy source is the lack of proper infrastructure to produce it on a meaningfully wide-scale, at least, without incurring substantial production of pollutants.
The production of hydrogen as an energy source can be broken down into two discrete categories which are as follows:
Here, an electrical current is applied to water, which results in the separation of the two elements of water, Hydrogen and Oxygen to become polarized to negative and positive electrodes respectively. From there, the hydrogen product is then separated from the oxygen and utilised.
However, the problem here is that an electrical current has to be applied in order to decompose the water sufficiently enough to allow the hydrogen to exist in a separate state. Given that the bulk of electricity is already produced as a by-product of fossil fuel burning; this means that we are incurring substantial pollution anyway and reducing the fossil fuel stock to get the hydrogen.
Steam and coal
The other primary method by which hydrogen is synthesised for the purposes of fuel production is via the reaction of steam with coal or gas. Just like the electrical hydrolysis, we are left with the unfortunate reality of having to utilise fossil fuels which are finite to produce hydrogen.
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