"Warning: The Hydrogen Economy May Be More Distant Than It Appears" by Alexander Schmit.

Essay by schmitalexHigh School, 11th gradeA+, September 2005

download word file, 2 pages 4.0

A new innovative technology has been foreseen in our future and will have the power to replace fossil fuels forever. By ending the use of fossil fuels, hydrogen use seems to promise the end of global warming, but how long will it be before the entire world will evolve into a hydrogen economy?

As the most common element in the universe, hydrogen is available anywhere, but it is not ready for common use. It must be extracted from chemical compounds such as water. At this point in time it takes as much energy to extract hydrogen, as the extracted energy would provide.

A common concern shared among most environmentalists and other scientists is global warming. Unlike internal combustion engines, hydrogen fuel cells do not release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. However, the procedure taken to release hydrogen from water through electrolysis, the process in which an electric current flowing through a water solution of a chemical breaks that compound up into its component parts, does release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

While the fact that driving a fuel cell car creates little to no pollution, the power plants providing the energy to fuel cell makers does expend carbon dioxide into the air. Unless more nuclear power plants are created, there seems to be no other way to prevent pollution. As safe as nuclear energy seems, it too has its drawbacks.

Critics may argue that renewable resources can be used to provide energy for electrolysis, but renewable resources cannot even begin to stand up to the demands hydrogen-making is requesting. Wind, solar, and hydroelectric power plants require too much land space to provide for. It has been projected that enough windmills would have to be built to fill half of the state of California to supply the power the electrolysis...