What You Should Know About Hydrogen



Hydrogen can be made from water by using the energy of the sun to create an electric current which can then be utilized to split (electrolyze) water into hydrogen and oxygen.

Wind power, tides and falling water (hydro-electric turbines) can also create electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. When hydrogen is produced from the sun or other renewable energy sources it is called "Solar-Hydrogen"

Hydrogen can be produced from water, sewage, garbage, landfill accumulations, agricultural biomass, paper product wastes and many other waste streams that contain hydrogen-bearing compounds.

Hydrogen can be used as a clean burning, non-polluting fuel in virtually every application where other fuels are used today.

Because hydrogen is pollution free, small personal or local power plants could be designed to utilize much of the energy we now throw away. Cogeneration with hydrogen could at least double energy utilization compared to present practices.

These power plants could be mass-produced so that the cost per kilowatt will be substantially less than that of large conventional power plants.

All fuels need air (oxygen) for combustion. Hydrogen is the only common fuel that is not chemically bound to carbon; therefore when hydrogen burns in air it produces only heat energy, water and possibly trace amounts of oxides of nitrogen. Water and oxides of nitrogen are natural in our atmosphere.

When hydrocarbon fuels (coal, oil, natural gas, propane, wood) burn they may create serious pollutants like carbon monoxide (a poisonous gas which is produced by incomplete combustion) carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas), an extensive list of complex hydrocarbon chemicals and quantities of particulate matter.

Hydrogen is the only fuel whose production and end use can both contribute directly to eliminating many of our most insufferable environmental, economic, and health problems.

As a gas or a liquid, hydrogen can easily be transported, stored and ultimately it can be used in every application where primary fuels are used today. This makes hydrogen an ideal, non-polluting energy carrier.

Unlike electricity, whose production as a secondary energy medium must be juggled to accommodate peak usage periods, hydrogen can be transported and stored for industrial and domestic needs and to make electricity at virtually any time.

It is less expensive to move hydrogen across the continent as a compressed gas by pipeline than an equal amount of electrical energy. Liquid hydrogen is the safest and most economical choice for moving energy across the oceans.

Hydrogen could be cost competitive at 75 cents per gallon equivalent of gasoline. This estimate is based upon large-scale extraction of hydrogen from biomass wastes or solar thermal extraction techniques utilizing large parabolic solar concentrators called Gensets. Solar Dish Gensets hold the world efficiency record for converting solar energy to electricity.

Burning hydrogen does not contribute to the Greenhouse Effect, ozone depletion or acid rain. Transition to a hydrogen energy system could restore the atmosphere to natural conditions prevailing before these anomalies became serious problems.

Hydrogen could be stored and supplied through the same pipeline network that now supplies natural gas. Depleted natural gas fields and similar geological formations could also be utilized for storing hydrogen.

Over 400 cities once used hydrogen for illumination, cooking, and heating before pipelines were established for delivering natural gas from oil and gas fields. Natural gas was cheaper because it came from the ground as a pressurized gas that required little or no preparation for market.

Hydrogen is naturally produced by plants and animals. Hydrogen is not toxic.

Existing automobiles could be economically converted to burn hydrogen fuel.

To improve air quality some states have set zero emission standards for cars. A vehicle converted to operate on hydrogen easily meets this standard and can actually improve upon it by cleaning the air through which it travels by reducing atmospheric concentrations of carbon monoxide, diesel soot, tire particles and unburned hydrocarbons and converting these pollutants into carbon dioxide and water. This air cleaning capability provides a Minus Emissions Vehicle (MEV).

A special class of MEV is one that uses hydrogen made from renewable resources. It is called Renewable Energy Vehicle - Minus Emissions or "REV-ME."

MEV engines using hydrogen will last much longer and start faster in any weather.

The lubricating oil in a MEV engine will remain clean for extended periods of time. There are no sulfur or carbon compounds to degrade the oil.

Hydrogen is the best way to power future fuel cell electric automobiles or existing vehicles that have internal combustion engines.

Hydrogen fuel cells utilize the energy of a reaction between hydrogen and oxygen which is converted directly and continuously into electrical energy for electric vehicle propulsion.

Another advantage of fuel cells is that the device also produces clean, potable water which is currently used on manned spacecraft and could also be useful in solving critical drinking water problems wherever potable water shortages exist.

One pound of hydrogen when combined with oxygen will make nine pounds of water. Therefore a hydrogen power plant could make valuable quantities of high quality water in addition to producing electricity.

The estimated petroleum reserves in the earth's crust is about one trillion barrels. Oil consumption is at 25 billion barrels per year and increasing at 1-1/2% per year. At current rates of consumption, measured against known reserves, there is only a 30 year supply of oil in the Earth's crust. Even if the reserve estimate were doubled it is a moral imperative that we take immediate action to develop a sustainable Solar Hydrogen economy.

Our current energy system is seriously inadequate in terms of its ability to meet increasing demand far into the future.

A transition to a hydrogen energy system will be the most significant, ongoing job creation opportunity ever conceived for both blue and white collar workers.

Hydrogen is the safest of all fuels. Gaseous hydrogen is 14-times lighter than air, therefore it rapidly disperses into the atmosphere in the event of an accidental release. This is not true of other fuels. Other fuels have a much greater "dangerous time" until they are dispersed from the location of accidental release.

Hydrogen is already used to produce countless products and to enhance many industrial processes.

The U.S. produces 100 billion cubic feet per year of hydrogen for industry and for the space program.

The largest user of hydrogen is the petroleum industry for converting crude oil into gasoline and hundreds of chemicals.

No one sustained hydrogen burns in the 1937 Hindenburg accident. Seven million cubic feet of hydrogen, equal in volume to a structure three football fields in size and 49 ft. in height, burned in less than one minute. However, diesel fuel for the propulsion engines fell to the ground and continued to burn for many hours.

If liquid hydrogen is spilled it will very rapidly evaporate, leaving no pollution or toxic residue.

Hydrogen can be stored at room temperatures as a hydride (hydrogen chemically combined with a metallic element) under little or no pressure and in a volume that is less than if it were a super-cold liquid.

Carbon is a valuable by-product of separating hydrogen from hydrocarbon compounds. Over $5.00 worth of carbon products can be extracted from a gallon of gasoline. The hydrogen left over could be used in cars that clean the air of pollution caused by those vehicles using hydrocarbon fuels. In the process; pollution, carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons are transformed into carbon dioxide and water.

Carbon is the most versatile of all elements. With it we can make materials to replace wood and steel.

About 74% of our landfills are hydrocarbons that can be converted into non-polluting hydrogen fuel and superior building materials.

It is not rational to burn petrocarbons and deny future generations their right of access to fossil hydrocarbon reserves to make plastics, synthetic fabrics, lubricants, solvents, carbon-fiber products that are stronger than steel and countless other new products that are even now being developed.

Hydrogen packs more chemical energy in a pound for pound comparison than with any other fuel. Two pounds of hydrogen provides as much energy as a gallon of gasoline. About 2.2 gallons of water will supply enough hydrogen to replace one gallon of gasoline.

Hydrogen is more fuel efficient than gasoline or other fossil fuels.

A Solar-Hydrogen powered heat pump could cool your house in summer and heat it in winter.

In many ways Germany, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Canada and Japan are already ahead of the United States in research and development of hydrogen fuel and its applications. Mercedes and BMW have experimental fleets of hydrogen-powered automobiles. Japanese automakers are testing hydrogen-powered cars. The United States lags behind.

Using a small portion of our total land area, we can manufacture enough Solar-Hydrogen to supply the entire energy requirement of the United States.

The United States could make a significant transition to hydrogen fuel by the year 2010.

Solar hydrogen could make the United States fuel-independent and pollution free for as far into the future as the sun will shine.

Development of hydrogen energy systems would protect us from a possible national security disaster precipitated by a geopolitical upheaval beyond our control.

Hydrogen could represent a lucrative cash crop for farmers in areas where there is abundant wind and/or solar radiation. Many farmers could profit financially by converting biomass and animal wastes into hydrogen through a process of bio-remediation (utilizing micro-organisms to break down unwanted or excess materials).

Using solar thermal electricity to make hydrogen is 30 times more efficient than the best green plants' photosynthesis process. Earth's human population of 5.6 billion cannot wait for another "dinosaur age" to replenish fossil fuels.

Introducing small amounts of hydrogen (2%-5%) into internal combustion engines, that are currently using fossil fuels like gasoline, diesel, or natural gas, increases the efficiency of combustion, improves mileage and reduces pollutants to a remarkable degree.

A substantial part of the expense in building and operating a fossil fuel power plant is devoted to disposing of heat from wasted energy.

A conventional nuclear or fossil-fueled central power plant can deliver only about one-third of the energy in the fuel in the form of electricity. The remaining energy is wasted by heating the environment. A hydrogen-fuel plant can deliver 70% or more of the energy as a combination of "cogenerated" heat and electricity products in a pollution free application.

Implementation of a worldwide solar hydrogen energy system will be tantamount to a Second, Clean Industrial Revolution or the Renewable Resources Revolution.

Did you know that any of the following states could eventually be richer than Saudi Arabia by making and selling Solar-Hydrogen? California, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Idaho, New Mexico, North Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, or Texas could provide endless supplies of Solar-Hydrogen for the U.S. and other countries.

Hydrogen is the simplest, lightest and most abundant chemical element in the universe.

On our planet hydrogen is abundant but it is usually combined with other elements. When combined with oxygen it is called water; when combined with carbon it is called a hydrocarbon.

Hydrogen is colorless, odorless, tasteless and non-toxic.

Hydrogen is the only truly clean chemical fuel.

To make hydrogen available for use as a fuel, energy is required to separate it from other elements. solar energy is the most abundant available source of energy on earth. Solar energy reaches the Earth at a rate that is 18,000 times the energy consumed by human activities and is an ideal source for separating hydrogen from other elements.

Solar hydrogen fuel can be produced to supply a clean sustainable supply of fuel for all human energy needs, FOREVER.

Forest lands, decimated for heating and cooking purposes by people in developing nations, can be preserved by utilizing hydrogen as fuel.

Many developing nations are endowed with wind, water or sun power that can be used to make hydrogen on a small scale for villages and where appropriate on a large scale for urban areas.

Strip mining coal, that defaces and environmentally destroys huge areas, could be eliminated by using Solar Hydrogen.

Vast quanities of hydrocarbon seepage from tank farms, pipelines and 200,000 gasoline service station tanks that now pollute our soil and aquifers would be virtually eliminated by a transition to hydrogen fuel.

Proven technologies are available to make, store, and use solar hydrogen.

Hydrogen produced by bioremediation in China is chemically and physically the same as hydrogen produced by wind power on a Nebraska farm. Hydrogen can therefore be used as a universal medium of energy exchange.

Pollutants from reliance on finite fossil fuels and nuclear energy are ultimately carried by the atmosphere and river systems to the oceans where they affect phytoplankton (that produce 80% of the earth's oxygen), flora and fauna of all kinds, particularly those marine species that comprise the ocean fisheries upon which all populations rely for a basic food source.

Energy providers could reduce their costs of operation by a very substantial margin through elimination of most exploration, drilling, mining, milling, refining and other cost intensive practices. These firms could reap even larger profits than they do now by actively participating in the transition to hydrogen energy systems.

Burning any fossil fuel creates pollutants that cause millions of people to suffer from lung, respiratory, and allergic types of illness. Burning hydrogen will eliminate much suffering and productivity losses and would substantially reduce health care costs.

If done to optimize economies of scale, many methods of producing hydrogen will be cost competitive with fossil fuels or nuclear energy.

Importing crude oil costs the United States one billion dollars every 5 1/2 days. Using hydrogen in place of oil could reduce our trade deficiet by 60 billion dollars. Even larger savings are available by eliminating the large military expenditures required to provide deliveries of foreign oil to the U.S.

The socially relevant costs of bringing any fuel to market must also include such factors as pollution and other short and long-term environmental costs as well as direct and indirect health costs. When these factors are taken into consideration, together with its initial cost competitiveness, hydrogen is surely the most logical choice for a worldwide energy medium.



Copyrightę 2004

Coalition For Energy Self-Reliance
A 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation for a hydrogen economy