Hydrogen is the perfect fuel. It is the cleanest and the most efficient one. Hydrogen can produce energy and electricity, creating a renewable energy loop that is environmentally safe. But before we talk about it, what is hydrogen? Why is it the cleanest fuel? How is it produced? And how can it be used?
Hydrogen is the most abundant element, accounting for nearly three quarters of the universe’s mass. It is found in water that covers 70% of the planet’s surface and in all organic matter. Also it is composed of a proton and an electron which makes it the lightest among all elements and gases; that’s why it is 14 times lighter than air. Moreover it is invisible, odorless and non-toxic.
Hydrogen and the environment:
Unlike fuels based on carbon, hydrogen doesn’t produce harmful by-products during its combustion. When hydrogen is combined with oxygen in a fuel cell, it doesn’t
generate harmful emissions; only energy and clean water are produced. Also, it does not cause acid rain and doesn’t deplete the ozone layer.
In its pure form, hydrogen is an invisible gas, odorless and non-toxic, lighter than air. But it has to be extracted. First, because it is not naturally found in this state. Before we can use it, we must separate it. There are several ways to do this, for example by using steam reformer and gasification; it can be summed up by the following reaction: CH4 + 2 H2O CO + 3 H2 + H2O CO2 + 4 H2 But electrolysis is an adequate process widely used in Europe. This method involves passing an electric current through the water, thus releasing hydrogen as a gas. So by using electricity from renewable sources, we are helping to sustain a greener fuel.
The multiple uses of hydrogen:
Hydrogen is used daily in gaseous or liquid form by many industries, including the oil industry in the refining process, as well as in manufacturing processes to produce chemicals (ammonia, which is essential in fertilizer production), food and electronics. Also, it’s used as an energy vector in the space field limited to 1%. The use of hydrogen as an energy vector, particularly in the transport sector and electricity production, is a very important challenge. Putting the fact that one day what is called fossil fuel will be from the past, and hydrogen will be the number one refuge for humanity.