The True Future of Hydrogen Fuels
One way to describe the advocates of hydrogen as a fuel of the future is to call them con-artists and frauds. They usually advocate hydrogen as a future fuel because they want funding for research that they are doing. If there was little or no funding for research into hydrogen as a fuel, the advocates of hydrogen would lose interest in it. The hydrogen hype feeds upon peoples' fears and dreams. People are concerned about what will happen when the supplies of fossil transport fuels run out and they promise a future.
One of the best ways to deal with the myth is to point out the position of hydrogen on the Periodic Table. It is the smallest element in the periodic table and consequently it is extremely hard to contain; it leaks terribly. In fact it is worse than helium, which is used by engineers to test for leaks. Helium is pumped into equipment and then a mass spectrometer is used to detect leaking helium. Hydrogen is even smaller than helium and will even leak through solid steel. One of the most common causes of delays for the launching of the space shuttle was hydrogen leaks.
Hydrogen is not the clean green fuel that it is promoted as. Being the smallest molecule there is, it leaks very easily and the free hydrogen reacts with ozone producing water and oxygen.
H2 + O3 ® H2O + O2
Where does the future lie for transport fuels? The bond that hydrogen forms with other atoms is a very dense source of energy. So why not connect this hydrogen to a carbon chain? This is what has been utilized for the last century. Hydrocarbons are an ideal compound for storing energy. They can be easily stored and are sufficiently large that they can be contained. One of the problems with using hydrocarbons as a fuel is that when they are combusted they can produce nitrous oxides. This can be overcome using the duel fuel system as outlined by Lindsay Leveen. Hydrogen almost by definition is a good reducing agent and will prevent the formation of nitrous oxides.
Magellan, the first man to sail around the world said: The Church says the earth is flat. But I know that it is round. For I have seen the shadow on the moon. And I have more faith in a shadow than in the Church.
The same could be said to hydrogen fuel advocates. Some people say that hydrogen is a future fuel. I have seen its position on the periodic table and I have more faith in the periodic table than in hydrogen fuel advocates.
It was understood among intelligentsia since Greek times that the world was round. Many people today already know that hydrogen is not the fuel of the future. Let us hope that they will not be drowned out by foolishness.
Back to Index Page
Top of Page