energy hydrogen station
Hydrogen

One possible source of alternative and renewable energy is hydrogen. It is the cleanest fuel when burnt, releasing zero emissions. The process of burning hydrogen fuel results in the formation of water, or H20. It is safe, clean, and sustainable.   There is potential for hydrogen to be mass produced for commercial use in passenger vehicles.

The manufacturing of hydrogen involves a process called reforming. The gas is found in organic compounds, specifically the hydrocarbons that exist in natural fossil fuels and gases. When the hydrocarbon is heated, hydrogen molecules are separated from the compound. These molecules can then be collected for use. The other method used to produce hydrogen is electrolysis. With electrolysis and clectric currents is passed through water, which separates the hydrogen and oxygen molecules from each other.  The resulting gases can then be collected.

Recently more hydrogen-powered cars have emerged in the market. Hydrogen-powered vehicles use hydrogen fuel cells as their source of power. Engines within these vehicles are very different from engines powered by tradional fossil fuels. Hydrogen engines need to have perfect combustion to generate power from the burning of hydrogen molecules. However, not all hydrogen engines require internal combustion. Some hydrogen-powered vehicles have engines which cause a reaction between hydrogen and oxygen molecules to power electric motors. Vehicles that carry internal combustion engines with electric motors are known as hybrid cars.

Cars that run on hydrogen need to be refueled just like a car running on gasonline.  Although not yet widely available, hydrogen filling stations have emerged in many countries including the United States.  Some companies and private individuals are trying to develop personal hydrogen generators.  These can use solar or wind power to convert water into hydrogen.

Mass production of hydrogen has proven a difficult obstacle to overcome. Hydrogen is now mostly produced with the burning of coal, natural gases and fossil fuels. Not only does this process diminish our already low levels of natural resources, the process also releases substantial amounts of pollution. Before hydrogen is a serious contender to replace fossil fuels, more efficient production methods must be developed.