ENERGY OF FUTURE – HYDROGEN
Posted June 23, 2008on:
As Hydrogen is to be produced from water, it is supposed to be one of the lightest, most efficient, cost effective and cleanest fuel on the planet, if the matured technology is developed. This is realistic since over 72% of the globe is covered with water and byproduct again is water. In other words Hydrogen economy starts and ends with water. It can avoid all harmful gases, acid rains, pollutants, ozone depleting chemicals and oil spillages due to conventional fuels. Use of Hydrogen can afford the development of clean and adequate energy for sustainable development of all.
Ever growing demand for energy and the rising concern caused by the use of conventional fossil fuels, call for new and clean fuels. Among all kinds of energy sources, hydrogen is the best choice as a clean fuel. The main advantage of hydrogen as energy source lies in the fact that its byproduct is water, and it can be easily regenerated.
Hydrogen is the simplest element; an atom of hydrogen consists of only one proton and one electron. It is also the most plentiful element in the universe. Despite its simplicity and abundance, hydrogen doesn’t occur naturally as a gas on the Earth—it is always combined with other elements. Water, for example, is a combination of hydrogen and oxygen (H²O). Hydrogen is also found in many organic compounds, notably the “hydrocarbons” that make up many of our fuels, such as gasoline, natural gas, methanol, and propane.
In its pure form, hydrogen is colorless and odourless gas. It is an energy carrier, not an energy source.
Production of Hydrogen
The various technologies that are involved in the production of hydrogen are
Thermo Chemical process.
Thermo Chemical Process
1) Steam Methane Reforming: – High temperature steam is used to extract hydrogen from any methane source. This is the most common method of producing hydrogen.
2) Partial Oxidation: – Methods are being is explored in which simultaneously oxygen is separated from air and partially oxidizing methane to produce hydrogen.
3) Splitting water using heat from a solar concentrator.
4) Burning to generate gas, which is then reformed to produce hydrogen.
Electricity is used to separate water (H2O) into hydrogen and oxygen.
In this, Sunlight is used to split water. Two photolytic processes are being studied.
1) Photo biological methods: – This involves the exposure of microbes to Sunlight, split water to produce Hydrogen.
2) Photo Electrolysis: – Here, Semiconductors, when exposed to Sunlight & immersed in water, generates enough electricity to produce hydrogen by splitting water.
Thus Hydrogen can be produced in large scale and transported or locally produced depending on the method used. The delivery infrastructure for hydrogen will require high-pressure compressors for gaseous hydrogen and liquefaction for Cryogenic Hydrogen. These methods have significant capital and operating costs. They also have energy inefficiency associated with them.