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Hydrogen fuel

Hydrogen fuel

  • Jul 21, 2021
Hydrogen fuel is a zero carbon fuel burned with oxygen. It can be used in fuel cells or internal combustion engines. Regarding hydrogen vehicles, hydrogen has begun to be used in commercial fuel cell vehicles, such as passenger cars, and has been used in fuel cell buses for many years. It is also used as a fuel for spacecraft propulsion.

In the early 2020s, most hydrogen is produced by steam methane reforming of fossil gas. Only a small quantity is made by alternative routes such as biomass gasification or electrolysis of water[1][2] or solar thermochemistry,[3] a solar fuel with no carbon emissions.

Hydrogen is found in the first group and first period in the periodic table, i.e. it is the lightest and first element of all. Since the weight of hydrogen is less than air, it rises in the atmosphere and is therefore rarely found in its pure form, H2.[4] In a flame of pure hydrogen gas, burning in air, the hydrogen (H2) reacts with oxygen (O2) to form water (H2O) and releases energy.

2H2 (g) + O2 (g) → 2H2O (g) + energy
If carried out in atmospheric air instead of pure oxygen, as is usually the case, hydrogen combustion may yield small amounts of nitrogen oxides, along with the water vapor.

The energy released enables hydrogen to act as a fuel. In an electrochemical cell, that energy can be used with relatively high efficiency. If it is used simply for heat, the usual thermodynamics limits on the thermal efficiency apply.

Hydrogen is usually considered an energy carrier, like electricity, as it must be produced from a primary energy source such as solar energy, biomass, electricity (e.g. in the form of solar PV or via wind turbines), or hydrocarbons such as natural gas or coal.[5] Conventional hydrogen production using natural gas induces significant environmental impacts; as with the use of any hydrocarbon, carbon dioxide is emitted.  At the same time, the addition of 20% of hydrogen (an optimal share that does not affect gas pipes and appliances) to natural gas can reduce CO2 emissions caused by heating and cooking.

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