If it\’s got an engine. . .

Dorri probably likes it

Hydrogen is NOT a fuel

Posted by ifitsgotanengine on December 4, 2005


This has been bugging me for quite some time.

Everyone seems to view the (Hydrogen fueled) fuel cell as the savior of our petrochemically-starved future.

Not gonna happen.

Wanna know why? Read on.

Hydrogen (large scale) is no more a fuel than the rechargeable battery in your iPod is. It is an energy storage medium.

Small scale (most of what we use now) it is a fuel, but we get it from methane, which is a fossil fuel.

Large scale (what we would use in the cars clogging our country’s freeways), we would have to get it from electrolysis of water.

Electrolysis is very simple: just run a current through water and the O2 will collect on electrode, while the H2 will collect on the other.

The problem with this is that we can only get from the H2 as much energy as we put into the water to crack it. Less actually, as nothing is 100% efficient.

There is a very understandable (amazingly) report prepared by the US Department of Energy available here. Check it out and come to your own conclusions.

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2 Responses to “Hydrogen is NOT a fuel”

  1. Anonymous said

    Methane is also a by product of organic materials digested in anearobic digesters. We are currently producing methane from discarded food waste both pre and post consumer.

  2. Dorri732 said

    That is true, but wherever we get the methane from, it’s still better to just burn it than to put energy into it to remove the H2 (which won’t give us as much energy as the methane would have).

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