What Is the Future of Hydrogen as a Fuel

As humans we are always looking at improving efficiency, lowering costs and overall sustainability. Hydrogen has long been thought of to be a potentially future-proof fuel for transportation, industries and other applications that require generators, engines and more.

But what exactly is hydrogen? Can it really stand up to traditional fossil fuel, or rival renewable energy from the sun or wind? In this article we will explore the possible future of hydrogen as a fuel, and examine the different applications across industries, as well as briefly touch on the prospect of investing into this technology before it becomes mainstream. Enjoy!

Hydrogen Explained

Hydrogen is actually the smallest base element we know of in the universe. It is without color, odor or taste, and comes in the form of a gas. It is also one of the most abundant elements we have access to, meaning that obtaining it is not an issue, as it is found in roughly 70% of all matter.

However, the process of extracting it, and then turning it into a fuel is not quite as straightforward, although scientists and researchers are constantly finding newer and more efficient ways to go about it. Thus the future might look bright for people investing into hydrogen, but it does not come without its own set of challenges, says David Goodnight of Austin, TX

Advantages of Using Hydrogen as a Fuel

One of the most prominent advantages is the fact that hydrogen results in zero emissions when used in fuel cells, only leaving behind water vapor and heat. This is a significant reason why so much money is being poured into the development and research to begin with.

At the same time, hydrogen also has the capability to become a highly potent fuel souce. Meaning that a small amount of hydrogen can power large machines or engines, making it a great choice for cars and many other applications where the size of the fuel tank matters.

Another benefit is the fact that hydrogen can store excess energy that has been generated from intermittent renewable sources, as when when the demand for electricity is low. And once the demand increases, the hydrogen can then be released, leading to a more stable energy grid without troublesome peaks or loads.

When considering hydrogen as a fuel for personal vehicles, it is often seen as a more convenient and faster way to refuel, compared to charging an electric car, which typically shares many of the other benefits with hydrogen.

The power obtained when using hydrogen for fuel cells is also highly versatile, making it an attractive option for a range of applications. This versatility stems from the fact that hydrogen powered fuel cells can be scaled to meet different power requirements, from small portable devices to large industrial applications.

Challenges with Using Hydrogen as a Fuel

David Goodnight of Austin, TX says that as with all things, there are of course also some challenges to using hydrogen as a fuel. One of the primary ones has to to with the production of hydrogen to begin with.

While there are different ways of obtaining hydrogen in its raw form, one common way is known as steam methane reforming, which in turn relies on natural gas. Thus, while the resulting hydrogen fuel itself has zero emissions, the actual process does result in emissions.

Currently however, the area of electrolysis is seeing an increase in development and research, especially when combined with green energy sources such as solar or wind power. This way it becomes possible to lower the emissions of production to a negligible amount.

At the moment the cost of clean hydrogen is still quite high, so until new developments are made, or new initiatives formed, the price itself can also be an inhibiting factor. Though this is likely to change, as we have already seen with solar panels and wind farms in the past.

There is also the issue of storing and distributing the hydrogen itself. As was the case with electric vehicles and their associated charging stations, the infrastructure is not yet at a point where it is feasible for the majority of private citizens to buy a hydrogen car.