Hydrogen has the maximum energy content per unit of weight amongst all other fuels. Domestic resources like coal, natural gas, biomass and water can be used to produce this gas. The good thing about it is that if hydrogen is burned in an engine, it has almost zero emissions. In a fuel cell, the only waste produced is water. Fuel cells can be combined with technologies like carbon capture and storage, renewable energy and fusion energy to make emissions-free energy. For motors, hydrogen fuel can be used, as solar or nuclear energy are not viable options. Gasoline can be replaced by this gas as a fuel in an internal combustion engine. It produces thrice the energy as compared with gasoline. However, as its density is one-tenth in liquid form and lesser in gaseous form, the fuel tanks have to be big. Also, they have to be insulated, and this makes them even bulkier. Liquid hydrogen can freeze air and cause accidents in plugged valves. As it is impossible to make a perfect insulation, the gas will evaporate at a rate of 1.7 percent per day.
Hydrogen Fuel Cell
Fuels like hydrogen, alcohol, methane or gasoline are converted to electricity directly in the cell. Pure water is the only byproduct and there is no other pollution. Such fuel cells are used wherever a clean and efficient power source is needed. These fuel cells can be readied to generate electricity in just 10 minutes. The following equipment is essential.
- A glass of water
- A popsicle stick or similar small piece of wood or plastic
- A 9 volt battery clip
- 1' pure platinum or platinum coated nickel wire
- A 9 volt battery
- A volt meter
- Transparent sticky tape
Any vehicle that uses hydrogen as an on-board fuel for motive power is called a hydrogen vehicle. It could be an automobile or an aircraft. The chemical energy of this gas is converted into mechanical energy by electrochemical conversion in a fuel-cell. This conversion comprises reacting hydrogen with oxygen to generate electricity and water to power an electric traction motor. This technology has paved the way for cars powered by hydrogen fuel cells. Hydrogen is not an energy source. Instead it is an energy carrier. This technology has the advantage of reduced emissions of greenhouse gases and ozone precursors. However, there are technical as well as economical challenges for the use of vehicles powered by this technology.