Hydrogen Fuel Economy

2031 Words9 Pages
The environmental impact of a hydrogen powered economy

The Production of hydrogen, how is it actually made?........
There are a number of ways that are used to generate hydrogen production, currently the main method is steam reforming from hydrocarbons such as natural gas.
However is Hydrogen fuel efficient enough to replace fossil fuels in the future? Since the introduction of Hydrogen fuel to the world, scientists have been trying to improve this concept in many ways. A lot of support has been given to the use of hydrogen fuel as a replacement for fossil fuels as the use of hydrogen fuel is environmentally friendly. In 2003, former US president George Bush announced that a large sum of money($1.2 billion) would be invested in the research
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Transporting hydrogen fuel is considered dangerous because of the leakage that can occur due to the diffusive nature of hydrogen when it is in a gaseous state. Hydrogen fuel needs to be as easily transported and secure as that of gasoline’s. According to the DOE, current methods for storing hydrogen fuel cannot meet the demands of a hydrogen economy. COME BACK TO STORAGE
There are many reasons also why hydrogen fuel can be harmful to the environment. One aspect is that hydrogen is a colourless, odourless, tasteless gas and therefore makes a hydrogen leakage very hard to detect. Seeing as hydrogen is a gas that can potentially be explosive if ignited (“Hydrogen air mixtures can ignite with very low energy input, 1/10 that required igniting a gasoline-air mixture”.

If the world was to change its main energy usage from fossil fuels to hydrogen fuel, it could still have a negative effect on the atmosphere. Using hydrogen energy can help reduce air pollution greenhouse gas emissions that are a product from the use of fossil fuels. The fact that hydrogen leakage is a big problem, on a very large, the leakage of hydrogen can be hazardous to the environment. It can also leak into the atmosphere during the production and transportation of the gas. Hydrogen can increase climate effects, cause ozone depletion in the atmosphere and increase the lifetime of
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Hydrogen forms 0.15% of the earth’s crust. The gas dissipates rapidly in well- ventilated areas.
In 2006 British scientists reviewed our understanding of hydrogen in the atmosphere and. They showed that hydrogen is and indirect greenhouse gas that can contribute to global warming. They also made a comparison to carbon dioxide, about the global warming potential that hydrogen may possess.
The overall results from their studies suggested that hydrogen would disrupt methane and ozone in the atmosphere. It would cause methane’s lifetime to prolong and cause ozone depletion, ozone which is needed in the stratosphere to block harmful ultra-violet rays from the sun. Therefore hydrogen can be seen as an indirect greenhouse gas that can contribute to global warming.
Although hydrogen is seen to have the potential to cause global warming, in comparison to the contribution of burning fossil fuels, it is still much lower. The researchers have predicted that if one percent of hydrogen leaked into the atmosphere, from the creation, storage and use of hydrogen, then it would have a climatic impact of 0.6% of the impact that fossil fuels currently are having. If 10% of hydrogen was leaked into the atmosphere, then it would still only do 6% of the damage of fossil fuels. Judging from this study, changing the economies main source of power to hydrogen, would still contribute to global warming. The contribution would be much less than that of fossil
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