Hydrogen fuel is a cleaner alternative to fossil fuels. Wind, solar and hydro power can produce hydrogen fuel that is 100% pollution-free and 100% renewable. Hydrogen can be made from water, and when burned, turns back into water.
How is hydrogen made from water, and what happens when hydrogen is burned?
Most of us already know that water is composed of two parts hydrogen, and one part oxygen . The hydrogen atoms are separated from the oxygen atoms through a process called "electrolysis" and then compressed into fuel tanks. When the hydrogen atoms are subsequently burned as fuel, they recombine with oxygen atoms and turn back into water. Electricity can make hydrogen, and hydrogen can also make electricity. Hydrogen fuel cells are actually hydrogen batteries that generate electricity.
Why use hydrogen?
Huge oil spills are becoming very common, killing all sorts of aquatic life. If hydrogen fuel were spilled in large quantities it would evaporate instantaneously and the only by-product of hydrogen fuel is water.
Pollution from ships, planes, automobiles and factories has created smog. Hydrogen fuel emits no pollutants that contribute to smog.
Oil imports drain £ millions.
Changing to a hydrogen-based economy would create thousands of new industrial and scientific jobs. Building plants, manufacturing parts and selling equipment would all be investments that stimulate jobs and growth.
Fossil fuels will eventually run dry. Hydrogen is renewable, therefore it's unlimited.
Hydrogen fuel does not contribute to acid rain, ozone depletion, or global warming.
Hydrogen Fuel Cells.
A hydrogen fuel cell operates like a battery. The chemicals are very simple, just hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen and oxygen atoms are joined together to produce water and electricity.
A hydrogen fuel cell consists of two electrodes sandwiched around an electrolyte. Oxygen passes over one electrode and hydrogen over the other, generating electricity, water and heat. Hydrogen is fed into the "anode" of the fuel cell. Oxygen (or air) enters the fuel cell through the cathode. Excited by a catalyst, the hydrogen atom splits into a proton and an electron, which take different paths to the cathode. The proton passes through the electrolyte. The electrons create a separate current that can be utilized before they return to the cathode, to be reunited with the hydrogen and oxygen in a molecule of water.
Since hydrogen fuel cells rely on chemistry and not combustion, its emissions are virtually zero in comparison to the cleanest fuel combustion engines.
Hydrogen fuel cells can be made in a vast quantity of sizes. They can be used to produce small amounts of electric power for devices such as personal computers, or be used to produce high voltage powers for electric power stations. Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are an attractive alternative to regular battery-powered vehicles. They can be refueled quicker and even run longer between refueling.
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