Hydrogen Fuel

Students interested in Chemistry should have certainly acquainted themselves with the term Hydrogen. Here we are going to discuss hydrogen fuel. Most of us are aware of the fact that the unique element of hydrogen has plenty of similarity with both halogens and alkali metals. The popularity of hydrogen fuel is increasing day by day due to the reason that a large amount of heat is produced by this fuel on combustion.

It might be an astonishing fact for most of us to know that this fuel could release more energy in comparison to diesel or petrol. Which means it has about thrice efficiency than petrol. Also, lesser pollutants are produced by the burning of this fuel than compared to the use of petrol.

What is Hydrogen Fuel?

Hydrogen fuel is a zero-emission fuel when it is burned oxygen. The fuel contains nitrogen oxides as pollutants since hydrogen uses nitrogen as the impurity (here we are talking about the molecule of hydrogen and not the atom). The pollution can be brought down if a little water is added to the container to reduce the temperature. That would deter the reaction between oxygen and nitrogen.

Compared to a petrol tank containing the fuel, a hydrogen gas cylinder in compressed form would weigh much higher. To cool down the hydrogen gas into a liquid state, the temperature has to be brought down at 20 K. Due to these constraints, it is quite difficult to use this fuel efficiently. Hence experts around the world are conducting researchers to find ways on how to use this fuel in a simple way in the future.

Hydrogen fuel production

Since pure hydrogen is not naturally available in large quantities on earth, it demands primary energy to obtain on an industrial level. Some frequent methods of production are steam methane reforming and electrolysis.

Production through Steam-methane reforming –

  • Extraction of hydrogen from methane
  • Liberating carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide into the atmosphere
  • These gases help in the greenhouse effect and contribute to the change of climate.

Production through electrolysis –

  • Separation of oxygen and hydrogen atoms
  • This process can use solar,  hydro, biomass, wind, geothermal, fossil fuels, and nuclear energy
  • It is a cost-effective method.

Economy of Hydrogen

The term “hydrogen economy” or “economy of hydrogen” refers to the vision of using hydrogen as a low-carbon energy source. For example, replacing natural gas as a heating fuel or gasoline as a transport fuel. The main benefit of this scheme is that the energy transmission is done in the form of hydrogen instead of electric power. Presently, this fuel is used by mixing it with CNG gas to improve its efficiency. It is expected to be used on a wider scale in the coming years. This fuel is also used in hydrogen fuel cells to create electricity.

Uses of Hydrogen Fuel

Hydrogen fuel can provide power for cars, aeroplanes, boats, stationary or portable fuel cell application, which can power an electric motor. It is very difficult to store hydrogen in either cryogenic tank or high-pressure tank which is the main problem of using hydrogen fuel cell in cars.

Thus we discussed hydrogen fuel and its importance and uses for the common man. Let us hope that this fuel would soon be used in our households in an economical manner over the coming years. 

Advantages of hydrogen fuel:

  • On burning hydrogen, it emits only water vapour,
  • When hydrogen is burned it does not produce carbon dioxide.
  • Hydrogen deletes little tailpipe pollution and is considered less of a pollutant.
  • It has the ability to run a fuel-cell engine when compared to an internal combustion engine.