Hydrogen Power May Be Tomorrow’s Answer To Today’s Environmental Concerns
Hydrogen technology is a developing area. However, the United Kingdom is the one leading the research in this direction. The UK minister spoke about the hydrogen technology in his speech on economic recovery. He says it will be a great way to create numerous jobs in the future. The real question remains, is the hydrogen revolution everyone is claiming it to be?
Hydrogen Has the Power
The world’s lightest element has the power to fuel some of the heaviest equipment. It is possible with the recently developed excavator with a hydrogen fuel cell in place of its dirty diesel tank. This is an excavator for digging into piles of rubble and stones. It is impressive that we can power it by Hydrogen. Besides the excavator, there are also hydrogen-powered micro-taxis, vans, trucks, double-decker and single deck buses, boats, and even small planes.
Why Hydrogen isn’t Dominating the Clean Fuel Industry
It was way back in the early 2000s that hydrogen fuel had its supporters who believe that it would dominate the clean automobile market. However, this never came to be, and it is worthwhile asking why this never happened. The first reason is that hydrogen power required new infrastructure, and so the hydrogen fuel rival, battery operated cars, could be conveniently charged on the existing electricity grid. The second reason that Hydrogen didn’t take off is that high-powered batteries were already well advanced for many other uses, like use in computers, for example, so Hydrogen had a lot of catching up to do.
These two factors made Hydrogen losing the battle for the last two decades. However, Hydrogen is back, and it’s aiming to meet the set of tasks that the electric batteries are struggling to fulfill. The advantage of hydrogen power for large vehicles is that batteries are simply impractical. Consider the excavator. A battery of five tonnes would be necessary to power the excavator that hydrogen powers. However, not to mention that it would take many hours to recharge. Hydrogen takes minutes to refuel and is incredibly lightweight. This advantage applies to large vehicles like industrial vehicles, buses, and lorries.
Lack of Infrastructure
Work is in progress to take care of the lack of infrastructure by setting up hydrogen pumps along the motorways. The fears of explosions with hydrogen tank is also taken care of, using hydrogen release mechanisms and Kevlar lining. We can also store Hydrogen at airports, the first test flight of an electric plane that works with a hydrogen fuel cell.
Germany is one country who is all in hen it comes to putting together a network of hydrogen filling stations as well as developing a hydrogen-powered train. Germany is investing 7 billion Euros in its hydrogen developments to get ahead in the industry. The idea of making the Euro the international currency for hydrogen trades across the globe leaked out too. Germany is the UK’s rival in their race to be in the lead, and the UK is motivated by the fact that they lost the battery race to China. Britain might test it’s first hydrogen train on regular tracks any time now.
Hydrogen Has a Chance
Recent events certainly do favor the advancement of Hydrogen in the fuel and power industry. The UK has a target of cutting its carbon consumption by a whopping 80% by 2050. So low carbon homes and other low carbon power users can rely on Hydrogen for a lightweight but powerful fuel to keep operations running. There are trials of a hydrogen and natural gas blend as sources of fuel. Hydrogen certainly does have a chance of being the solution to tomorrow’s problems. Even if it lost the last battle to the battery.
We’ve looked at all of the opportunities. However, we need to mention the fact that hydrogen production still happens by splitting it from natural gas. This is a costly process that produces carbon dioxide emissions that relate to global warming. However, it’s an issue that isn’t without a solution, since we can capture carbon dioxide and then bury for storage. It drives the costs up but reduces the damage to the environment significantly. So, it’s safe to say that Hydrogen is the future. Will you be a part of it?
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