We’re Now One Step Closer to Cleaner Energy
With the ever-looming threat of an energy crisis on our hands, governments around the world, along with organizations and many activists, are making the push for mankind to move away from non-renewable energy sources like coal and petroleum in favor of something more sustainable.
And as the world’s consumption rates continue to increase, scientists and researchers are at the forefront of the movement to devise new systems of harvesting and maintaining clean energy.
One of the most popular alternative energy sources is hydrogen, specifically hydrogen fuel, with its light weight and zero-emissions being just two of its major pros. One of the biggest problems with hydrogen fuel, however, is that it’s difficult and costly to produce. But now scientists are one step closer to simplifying–and perfecting–that process.
Does this breakthrough mean hydrogen fuel is the way of the future?
Hydrogen may seem like an ideal renewable energy source, but like all things, it has its pros and cons.
Used as a fuel, hydrogen has zero emissions (except water), and has been proven effective in powerful engines, electrical devices, spacecraft propulsion, and everyday vehicles.
Though one of Earth’s most basic components, there are no natural hydrogen deposits in nature as the lightest element often rises into the atmosphere and becomes unavailable in its purest form. Thus, hydrogen must be produced by reforming natural gas or breaking down water molecules. Hydrogen production has been valued as more than a $100 billion industry, with millions of metric tons of the gas being produced in the United States each year.
Though various hydrogen production processes exist, the cleanest among them have not yet been made efficient enough due to high costs, low yields, and time.
Currently, some 95% of all hydrogen production comes from the steam reforming of methane. Unfortunately, the process uses existing fuels to produce hydrogen, which may or may not be ultimately beneficial depending on the scale and cost of the process.