Monday, July 2, 2007

By-product: Just Water? (Part 2)

This is the 2nd part in a series titled "By-product" continued from here.

Awhile back, I got very excited about news of a new hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle by Honda being test-driven. I was learning more about how to use hydrogen as a beneficial resource, and was learning more about how to create the hydrogen. In one article I read that we would have to burn fossil fuels to do it (which seems to defeat the purpose of hydrogen energy). I've finally got around to spending time on this post, so let me briefly explain what I've learned...

There are two possible sources for hydrogen:
  1. Electrolysis of water (splitting the water molecule to create pure hydrogen and oxygen)
  2. Reforming fossil fuels (using a reformer to split the hydrogen off the carbon in hydrocarbon molecules, which are contained in fossil fuels)
The second option does reduce pollution, but it doesn't solve the problem with being dependent on fossil fuels. It doesn't help the pollution problem, either. The carbon split off from the hydrocarbon still goes into the atmosphere.

The great thing about the first option is that it's the ideal for a pure hydrogen economy. The hydrogen is derived from renewable energy sources rather than fossil fuels, such as oil or natural gas. However, the biggest stumbling block with this option is generating enough electricity to split the hydrogen and oxygen in the electrolysis. And generating that electricity without using fossil fuels. Once this problem is solved, hydrogen fuel-cells will become one of the best clean, renewable sources of energy.

For more information, click here for my source.

Image from Green Car Congress

By-product: Water (Part 1)