The Pros and Cons of Hydrogen Fuel

By Hannah Anderson

Pros of Hydrogen Fuel

The Cleanest Energy Source -- This alternative energy is the cleanest energy source in this universe. It does not let off poisonous chemicals like other gasoline or diesel fueled cars.
Can Use Renewable Fuels -- This energy source can use renewable fuels like biofuels, such as vegetable oil, ethanol, and methanol. Other renewable fuels like wind or solar power are also used to create hydrogen fuel. When producers of hydrogen fuel use renewable fuels, the cost of the production decreases dramatically.
No Moving Parts and No Noise -- Unlike other energy sources that require large machinery or the burning of coal, the production of hydrogen fuel does not require any large machinery that would take up a lot of space and that creates a lot of noise.
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No Big Power Plants -- The production of hydrogen fuel does not require any large buildings. This allows for the space taken up by coal and other power plants to be put to use in other ways.
No Air Pollution -- The production of hydrogen has very little to no pollution on our environment. Unlike the production of energy using coal, hydrogen production does not give off carbon dioxide (CO2). The carbon dioxide compound, one carbon atom and two oxygen atoms, is the primary cause of global warming. Other negative effects that other energy sources have that hydrogen fuel does not have include smog, soot, acid rain, and global warming. Hydrogen fuel production does not add to any of these problems and is a non-pollutant energy source.
Useful -- For those who do not travel long distances, using a hydrogen fueled car is much cheaper and more efficient than driving a diesel or gasoline fueled car.
Can Be Made from the Most Abundant Compound in the Universe -- Water is the most abundant compound in the world. Almost 71% of our world is covered in water. Because of water's natural abundance on earth, we have an endless supply of hydrogen.
Simple Maintenance -- When used in a car this alternative fuel is very efficient and also very easy to maintain. The maintenance on hydrogen fueled cars is very economical and easy.

Cons of Hydrogen Fuel

Short Distance -- Although hydrogen fuel cell cars are very economical, they can only be used for short distances. These cars do not have long ranges of travel and have to be refueled more than other cars.
Fueling Stations Not Available Everywhere -- Because hydrogen fuel cell cars are still not as common as diesel or gasoline fueled cars, fueling stations for hydrogen fuel are not very common. This can also limit how far you are able to drive with your hydrogen fuel car.
Limited -- Currently, hydrogen fuel cars are very limited. Many countries do not have the resources or the machinery to produce and distribute hydrogen fuel. Even in the United States, hydrogen fuel cars are limited to the East Coast, California, and a couple Southern states.
Could Become Irrelevant -- Right now there is research and advancements being made on our batteries. If this continues and batteries become more efficient and are able to sustain longer lives, hydrogen fuel could become irrelevant and unnecessary.
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Durability and Robustness -- Because hydrogen is such a sensitive chemical, it can be very difficult and inconvenient to transport and use hydrogen fuel. Some things that hydrogen fuel is very sensitive to is high or low temperatures, pressure, and contamination.

Is Hydrogen Fuel worth the Pros and the Cons?

Although there is currently a lot of research being done on the fuel cell, it is hard to say yet whether Hydrogen Fuel is worth being switched over to. There are many positive and negative issues that have to be dealt with, but if research is continued and more efficient ways to produce this fuel are discovered, one day this energy source might become a very economical reality.

Sources:

Occupytheory. "Advantages and Disadvantages of Hydrogen Fuel Cells." OccupyTheory. OccupyTheory.org, 25 Sept. 2014. Web. 21 Apr. 2015.


Siegel, RP. "Fuel Cell Energy: Pros and Cons." Triple Pundit People Planet Profit. Triple Pundit, 10 May 2012. Web. 25 Apr. 2015


"Hydrogen Benefits and Considerations." Alternative Fuels Data Center:. U.S. Department of Energy: Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, 2 Jan. 2015. Web. 25 Apr. 2015.

Hydrogen Fuel -- Chemistry Project -- Hannah Ander