Presentation on theme: "Kelly Corey & Dom Uhelski. How is Energy Produced from Hydrogen? Hydrogen is the simplest and most plentiful element in the universe. Unfortunately, most."— Presentation transcript:
How is Energy Produced from Hydrogen? Hydrogen is the simplest and most plentiful element in the universe. Unfortunately, most hydrogen on Earth is not in a free form, it is married to other atoms in molecules like water or hydrocarbons. This means that an energy investment must be put in to liberate it. Hydrogen can be liberated by electrolysis, splitting of water. The hydrogen can then be drawn off and stored as a volatile gas. Pure, gaseous hydrogen is highly reactive, and putting it through a fuel cell with access to oxygen will produce DC electricity and heat through the shuttling of electrons from H 2 to H 2 O, with only water vapor as a waste product.
Waste Products? The only waste created by the fusion of hydrogen and oxygen is heat and harmless hydrogen monoxide. On the energy investment side, however, if electrolysis is not powered by renewables such as solar, hydro, wind, geo, tidal, or otherwise, pollution can be produced indirectly from its power source. Other, not necessarily renewable, but still green sources of hydrogen are: nuclear waste heat; and trash converters powered by municipal solid waste.
Where is Hydrogen Technology Currently used? Hydrogen fuel cell technology is currently still budding and experimental, and is used mostly in automotive proof-of- concepts. However, hydrogen could be used in the future to store solar and wind energy for later use.
Advantages of Hydrogen Energy Emits only water vapour, assuming there is no leakage of hydrogen gas It can store up to 3x as much energy as conventional natural gas it has the best safety record of any industrial gas. Hydrogen is only explosive when it is able to build up in a enclosed space, which is very difficult as it has a habit of escaping (hydrogen is the smallest of all elements). if it is used in a fuel cell then even these disappear. Furthermore, no greenhouse gases are generated because there's no carbon in the fuel. All that comes out the vehicle's exhaust is drinkable water! Using hydrogen as the "battery" to store energy from a nonpolluting, renewable source would result in a truly unlimited supply of clean fuel.
Disadvantages Leakage of Hydrogen gas can have detrimental impacts on the stratosphere. Production of hydrogen gas currently relies on natural gas and electrolysis and to replace all the vehicles would require 10x as much as currently is used. Storage is really tough because hydrogen is such a low density gas Distribution and infrastructure needs to be refurbished to cope with hydrogen, which can damage metals by making them brittle. Use in fuel cells requires catalysts, which usually require a component metal (most often platinum). Platinum is extremely rare, expensive and environmentally unsound to produce. As of December, 2010, cars that run on pure hydrogen cost around $3 million, making them inaccessible to most individuals.
Interesting Facts While it is a green technology, the hydrogen fuel cell is far from new. The concept was discovered in 1838 in Germany. The first functioning hydrogen fuel cell was built in 1843 by Sir William Robert Grove. The device was a mostly forgotten curiosity until General Electric resurrected it in the 1950s. A hydrogen fuel cell can be thought of like a battery. It runs on a chemical-electric reaction, breaking up hydrogen and using its electrons to create an electric current. Unlike internal-combustion engines, a hydrogen fuel cell puts out only two products while it runs. The first is heat, which isn't enough to do any damage or pose a danger. The second is water, which is expelled through an exhaust pipe. Small fuel cells can power electric cars. Large fuel cells can provide electricity in out of the way places with no power lines.