The Future for Energy

March 2, 2013

Happy spring break everybody!! I hope you all have some time to relax and process all the problems/possible solutions we’ve been discussing in class these past couple of weeks. Now I’ll admit, I’m not perfect when it comes to living a sustainable life (yet). But generally speaking, I’d like to think that I have at least a broad idea of our current global environmental problems and the solutions thus far. It was surprising to me that I’ve never ever heard of Hydrogen electricity… until last class at least. Living on the East Coast my whole life has lead me to be mostly pushing for the idea of offshore wind energy options where they’re possible because it’s a relatively inexpensive operation (unlike many other sustainable energy practices ideas) and wind energy would eventually pay for itself! One of the problems with this method though is that not everyone would have access to the offshore/constant wind supply, so what else can we do?

Naturally, I decided to look further into the idea of Hydrogen energy and I found this interesting example of its current use, “NASA has used liquid hydrogen since the 1970s to propel the space shuttle and other rockets into orbit. Hydrogen fuel cells power the shuttle’s electrical systems, producing a clean byproduct – pure water, which the crew drinks” (website here). Isn’t that crazy! They can actually drink the energy byproduct because it’s pure water. This process would provide electricity and heating in buildings as well as an electrical energy source for electric cars and other vehicles. Also, alternative fuels, both renewable and non-renewable would be able to produce hydrogen to be stored and transported when needed. This is important because in the transition to renewable energy, we can still produce this hydrogen energy from the fossil fuels as well as supplement the hydrogen when solar and wind are not possible because they are fairly unpredictable. On top of all of that, the only byproducts from this energy source are pure H2O…that’s pretty remarkable. Here’s a chart that compares Hydrogen energy in comparison to other energy sources:

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As you can see, its amount of CO2 released is 0 unlike the other fuels mentioned. Obviously, there are still economic, practicality, and other setbacks in starting this transition to Hydrogen fuels, like most renewable energy source options. I still think that this is an energy source worth exploring further and eventually implicating in the near future to break our dependency on foreign oil.

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