Hydrogen: No Super Fuel of the Future
In an era of growing concern over the security of our energy supplies, federal and provincial governments are funding development of alternative sources of energy.
This seems to be taking place without sufficient regard for the underlying scientific and economic constraints that govern likely success.
A case in point is the so-called "hydrogen economy." This seductive concept idealizes clean power, a virtuous cycle of hydrogen from water, energy from hydrogen, and clean water as the only byproduct. Unfortunately, hydrogen is too expensive to become a useful fuel in our modern world.
Of the two main methods for producing hydrogen, steam reformation of methane/natural gas and electrolysis of water, steam reformation is easily the cheapest. Reforming natural gas requires the natural gas feedstock, but also uses additional natural gas as fuel to create the steam that is integral to the process.
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