Hydrogen as an Alternative Fuel
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Hydrogen as an Alternative Fuel
Our main future concern is to reduce the carbon emission in the atmosphere. The use of fossil fuels such as coal, petrol, diesel etc., may increase the carbon emission which in turn affect the ozone layer and cause depletion this ozone layer depletion in turns causes global warming which increase the average temperature of the earth.
Nowadays the fossil fuels are steeply depleting and our major concern is how to meet the increasing demand for energy in future. Hence the whole world has turned towards the alternative fuels for future use. The alternative fuels which can be used as Hydrogen, Methanol, Ethanol, Bio-diesel, etc…
Hydrogen fuel can be implemented as a renewable energy medium with immense potential. When utilized properly, it has the potential to entirely replace fossil fuels altogether. Transforming our largely oil based economy, to a new hydrogen economy, which will provide sustainability throughout the 21st century, and beyond, for as long as the sun continues to shine.
This paper will examine all aspects involved in making this transition become a reality, including political, economical, environmental, and safety issues, using hands on experience, as well as lots of great internet resources, books, magazines,
When these aspects have been fully comprehended it will be clear just how much hydrogen can make a difference, how great the impact, coming to the natural conclusion that hydrogen does, have the potential to do so, and more.
1. Introduction:
Most people think of hydrogen, they think of the first atom on the periodic table, the Hindenburg, and maybe even the hydrogen bomb, but there is much more to hydrogen. On earth the hydrogen atom contains a single proton, around which orbits a single electron. It is also the world’s lightest, most abundant and most explosive element. For these reasons it is also the most useful, both for its lifting ability, as well as its explosive power. In fact the sun burns up 11 billion pounds of hydrogen every second (McAlister). It was through this burning of hydrogen that photosynthesis created the very fossil fuel we so enjoy today.
Hydrogen is considered” energy storage medium,” much like batteries, (Camp) and can be made quite simply. The best method would be to take electricity to split (electrolyze) water into hydrogen and oxygen. This could be done on a large scale in a hydrogen plant. The US currently produces 100 billion cubic feet per year of hydrogen for industry, and the space program (McAlister).
Hydrogen is the heart of all hydro carbon fuels (fossil fuels) pure hydrogen and carbon can be extracted. Carbon is a very reusable resource and is known for its light weight and strength (Camp). Carbon would most likely be implemented as a method for storing hydrogen, rather than using the traditional steel tank, which isn’t as safe. A newer, hi-tech method called Carbon fiber? can be used to store hydrogen. Currently this method of extracting hydrogen from oil is preferred due to its high efficiency, which means most hydrogen used today is derived from a fossil fuel, but this will change. Once obtained hydrogen can run virtually every application where other fuels are used today. Basically anything that operates on a flame like a gas stove, or anything that operates on a explosion like a internal combustion engine, anything that runs off electricity or could be run by a battery, done through a fuel cell, or anything else that doesn’t fit into those three categories. Hydrogen can truly run anything that consumes energy of any kind, in any shape or form.
2. Alternate Fuels
2.1 Definitions:

Environment friendly substitutes (such as compressed natural gas, ethanol, gasohol, methanol) for fossil fuel based products such as gasoline, diesel, and kerosene.
2.2 Types of Alternative Fuels
• Hydrogen
• Ethanol
• Propane
• Bio-diesel
2.3 Hydrogen:
• Hydrogen is gaseous at atmospheric pressure and room temperature, and turns liquid at -423.2ºF
• Hydrogen gas (H2) is colorless, odorless
• It accounts for 75% of the universe's mass, and is naturally occurring element found in many materials such as natural gas, methanol, coal, biomass, and water
• Hydrogen is not made of pure H2 but has small mixture of oxygen and other materials
3. Production of hydrogen:
Hydrogen can be produced using diverse, domestic resources including fossil fuels, such as natural gas and coal (with carbon sequestration); nuclear; and biomass and other renewable energy technologies, such as wind, solar, geothermal, and hydro-electric power. Researchers are working to develop a wide range of technologies to produce hydrogen economically and in environmentally friendly ways.
3.1. Today the two most common methods used to produce hydrogen fuel are:
• steam reforming of natural gas
• electrolysis of water
3.1.1. Steam reforming of natural gas:
 Producing Hydrogen from Natural Gas:
The predominant method for producing synthesis gas is steam reforming of natural gas, although other hydrocarbons can be used as feedstock. For example, biomass and coal can be gasified and used in a steam reforming process to create hydrogen.
 Steam Reforming Gasification and Liquefaction:
Steam reforming gasification is a form of thermal decomposition in an environment with limited or no oxygen. The concept is that material is indirectly heated to very high temperatures, for example, 800°C, at which point organic material decomposes into gases such as H2, CO, CO2, and CH4, and ash containing minerals. A benefit of this process is that any bio-active compound, such as antibiotics, prions, or viruses, should be destroyed.
The steam reforming gasified used for research at NCSU uses an entrained flow principle. The swine feces are injected into a spiral tube while suspended by superheated steam and some recycled product gas (Figure 4). This tube surrounds an intense flame, and while traveling up this tube the material is heated to 800°C and decomposes. The reason for co-injecting product gas is to propel the material through the tube. Steam is injected so it can react with fecal material resulting in H2 production. In principle, the reaction occurring is as described below. In practicality, other product gases such as CO2, CH4, H2S, and NH3 are formed as well.
C2H4O + H2O → 2CO + 3H2
At the exit of the decomposition tube, the product gas is separated from the mineral ash using cyclones and gas cleaners. The product gas has a combustion value similar to low grade natural gas and can be used to fuel a generator or micro-turbine for the production of electricity. This is only a viable option if a market is available for electricity.
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