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Hydrogen is an environmentally friendly energy carrier. As fuel for fuel cells, there is no emission other than clean water. Fuel cells convert hydrogen and oxygen electrochemically to water, and in this process electricity is generated. Hydrogen is also a flexible energy carrier that can be used in combustion engines with minimal emissions.
Hydrogen is the simplest and smallest element we have. It is therefore so easy that there is no free nature. Other energy carriers such as oil or wood can be found in nature. Hydrogen must therefore be prepared from hydrogen-containing raw materials such as gas or water.Because hydrogen can be relatively easily produced from a variety of different raw materials and with many different methods, the dependence many countries on oil can be reduced. Germany, Japan and the US are major consumers of imported fossil energy. These countries lead in the development of technologies for hydrogen-based transport. Oil dependence in combination with the potential for business development and environmental improvement is the main motivation to invest in hydrogen as an energy carrier worldwide.
Regular gasoline engines can be converted to hydrogen operation, but internal combustion engines have low efficiency. The highly developed combustion engine utilizes only 20-30 percent of the energy in the fuel. A hydrogen fuel cell already has an equivalent efficiency of over 50 percent with Today’s technology and the theoretical possibility of a much higher utilization rate of energy. It also develops airplanes and trains that use hydrogen as fuel.Other usesHydrogen will increasingly be used in stationary turbine and fuel cell power plants. In many fields, hydrogen together with fuel cells will replace the use of batteries. Hydrogen can also be used in most areas where a burner gas is used.
Today, hydrogen is produced mainly from natural gas where the gas is used within or is a residual product from different industries.Of world production today at approx. 500 billion Nm3 H2 (standard cubic meter) comes approximately. 90 percent from fossil material and approx. four percent from electrolysis of water. The largest consumers of hydrogen are the petroleum and fertilizer industry.
About half of world production is produced by steam reforming natural gas. In this process, natural gas is supplied with water vapor at 1100 ° C, the process also produces CO2 which must then be cleaned and deposited.
Hydrogen produced from fossil materials will be the least expensive source of hydrogen for a while. This production generates large amounts of CO2, but punctual emissions from large production plants are easier to clean and deposit than the cleaning of many small emissions (eg from petrol-driven cars).
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