Recent hype may lead one to believe our future energy needs can be solved with the advent of a “Hydrogen Economy” and that, through the proper utilization of hydrogen, America will somehow no longer be dependent on foreign oil. This is simply not true — the use of hydrogen will not change our dependence on foreign oil in any way.
A few facts are in order:
- Hydrogen is not a fuel source. Hydrogen is at best an inefficient battery.
- Hydrogen is a highly reactive element and cannot be found in its pure form anywhere on the planet. Nobody mines for hydrogen.
- Hydrogen must be produced from an existing media such as water. It takes 2.4 gallons of water to produce one kilogram of hydrogen plus 8 kilograms of oxygen. The energy in one kilogram of hydrogen (33.4 kilowatt-hours of electricity) is almost the same as in one gallon of gasoline (33.7 kilowatt-hours of electricity).
- Hydrogen must be extracted from water with the use of energy.
- The amount of energy used to create hydrogen is always greater than the amount of energy that can be utilized from the hydrogen produced.
- Because of this, hydrogen is actually what is called an “energy sink.”
Water is the world’s most precious natural resource. Misconceptions about where it comes from, increasing demand, and disregard about where water goes after its been used, pose a serious threat to the future of our Great Lakes.
Renewable energy as a solution to our country’s dependance on oil is all the rage. Hydrogen, however, is not a source of energy — hydrogen is merely a way of carrying energy.
It is important that we keep our priorities straight.
Hat tip to: Zaius Nation for the facts on hydrogen
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