The Use of Hydrogen as an Energy Source in the Future
There have been many stories in the newspapers, on TV and on the radio about the state that our planet is in, and most of the time they are not too positive. We hear about pollution, and global warming most frequently, which are both caused mainly by the burning of fossil fuels. Because of this, organizations and governments have started to invest money in researching alternate forms of energy that are less polluting and that do not contribute to global warming. One of the main sources of energy being looked into is hydrogen, which is used in fuel cells to produce electrical energy. Very little pollution is formed by hydrogen and absolutely no greenhouse gases are formed. In this paper both pros and cons of using hydrogen as an energy source will be discussed, as well as what kind of research is being done, how hydrogen is already being used as an energy source, and if there are any safety concerns.
In the past few years many problems concerning our energy resources and our environment have arisen and need to dealt with. Our planet's temperature has increased by approximately one degree in the past century and many scientists believe this change is accelerating at a dizzying rate. As well the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicted that the global temperature would increase somewhere in between 1.8 and 6.3 degrees by the year 2100. (Esselstyn 1) This may not seem like much because the difference between a day where the temperature is 24 and another day where the temperature is 29 does not seem to be too significant to the average human body. However the planet earth is like a giant balancing act, and this slight change in temperature can throw our planet way out of balance. If this change were to occur there would be dire consequences, like a rising sea level, which would cause coastlines to disappear, a spread of tropical diseases, crop disasters, and an increase in the number of hurricanes and droughts. All these problems are caused by the burning of fossil fuels, which produce greenhouse gases like CO2, NOx and SOx.
This causes quite the dilemma. How can we replace our main form of energy which is not only killing our planet, but is also diminishing because fossil fuels are finite resources and our needs and demands are infinite? Either our planet will become too polluted to be inhabited or we will run out of fossil fuels and will need a new source of energy.
This is why certain organizations and governments are looking into alternative energy sources like hydrogen, earth's most abundant element, (Esselstyn 1) which can be isolated from water, natural gas, methanol, organic wastes, and petrochemical spills. (Esselstyn 4)
Hydrogen, oxygen, water and electricity have a remarkable relationship, which, when used in an effective manner can produce infinite amounts of energy, with very few negative consequences. (Esselstyn 3) We get energy from...