Alternative Fuel

As the world continues to turn away from burning fossil fuels for energy, scientists are constantly reevaluating the options for automotive fuels. It is well-known that burning fossil fuels creates excess greenhouse gases, which have negative effects on the environment as well as polluting the air we breathe. Biofuels have been heavily researched and production has become a top issue in many regions of the world, with differing effects. Another option is hydrogen, which has long been recognized as the cleanest potential vehicle fuel. That said, its production on a mass scale is still not economically practical.

Using Wind Power to Create Hydrogen

Different ways of creating hydrogen are being explored. Although the idea of harnessing energy from wind is far from novel and the Dutch have been at it for centuries, the idea that it could become a significant energy source for producing hydrogen fuel is relatively new. For example, there’s a project being conducted currently in Denmark that is using wind power to produce electricity for electrolyzing water into hydrogen. The hope is to increase the productivity and viability of the process so that worldwide production could match demand. Renewable energy like wind will be used in six new hydrogen plants in western Denmark. Hopes are to have hydrogen fuel stations all over the country completed by the UN Climate Conference in 2009.

Worldwide Potential

Hydrogen power emits water, which cannot harm the environment or the ozone. When hydrogen is created with wind power this fuel is, as far as we know, endless and completely clean. From Australia to New Zealand, the U.S. and Japan, applications of hydrogen fuels are being studied and developed.

Technology and Science

In the U.S., scientists and engineers are finding better ways to produce hydrogen using sources other than fossil fuels like natural gas. Electrolysis of water is one popular technique but some experts say it may be too inefficient, requiring large amounts of electricity. This could become a moot point if countries like the U.S begin to rely on greater amounts of nuclear power for electrical generation, as is being seriously discussed today. In this case significant off-peak electricity will be available to electrolyze water into hydrogen. Researchers at Penn State are also investigating the use of bacteria to break down plant matter for producing hydrogen in a process that some believe has the potential to be highly efficient and create large quantities of hydrogen economically.

Future Possibilities

Hydrogen fuel is a better alternative than just about every other vehicle fuel option that we know of today. As research continues on the best way to create it, the possibility of a completely new industry filled with jobs and other opportunities is surfacing. Not only can this fuel help our planet, it can help to improve the global economy as well.