What We Have: Hydrogen Energy
Hydrogen is the most abundant element on earth, always found
combined with other elements to form chemical compounds. One example
of this is water-H2O-which is a combination of hydrogen and oxygen.
By harnessing the power of this element, we can create a natural
form of energy that is not only renewable, but also healthy for the
This technology, which NASA has been using for years, is now being
researched for possible use in everyday life.
Hydrogen energy is stored in the form of fuel cells.
These fuel cells are what powers spaceships during takeoff. Because
hydrogen is not found naturally by itself, the first step to
building a fuel cell is to remove the hydrogen from a compound.
Hydrogen is found not only in water, but also in natural gas, the
substance most often used for this process, which is known as
reforming and uses heat to separate the hydrogen from the natural
gas. When water is used, a similar process, called electrolysis, is
used to separate the hydrogen and oxygen with an electrical current.
The result of each of these processes is more energy, in the form of
hydrogen, than is used in the process itself.
Hydrogen energy is researched because it is such a pure from of
power. An engine that uses hydrogen produces almost no pollution,
making it much preferred over fossil fuels.
In the space shuttle example, for instance, the byproduct of burning
hydrogen to power lift-off is purified water, which the astronauts
then can drink. Therefore, using hydrogen power is not only clean,
but also useful.
Fuel cells are often compared to batteries, and work in much of the
same manner, but unlike batteries, which eventually lose their
charges, a fuel cell continues to work until its source of hydrogen
is cut off. Inside the cell, oxygen is combined with hydrogen, and
the chemical process that produces water also gives off heat and
electricity. The water can then be broken into hydrogen and oxygen
once again, and the process starts all over again.
In the future, scientists have predicted that fuel cells will become
more widely used. Currently, they are still working on more
convenient storage methods since hydrogen, although very light,
takes up a lot of space.
When this process becomes more refined and
cost effective, hydrogen could be a solution to the world's energy
problems, and since the process is not only renewable, but clean, it
can help save our environment as well.
Read the reports, print and put them in a binder for ready
reference, and visit my
Energy" website for more useful ideas and money and environment
... Richard Rossbauer
|About the Author -
Richard Rossbauer has been writing about important
and related topics for the past 6 or 7 years. His website at
www.RichardPresents.com also offers tips and
tools for doing fun things like family gardening, camping,
cooking, bird watching, and other enjoyable and entertaining
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