Cosmos - - Cosmos Science Club -

Hy­dro­gen is the most abun­dant el­e­ment in the uni­verse, but on Earth, most is locked up in mol­e­cules such as wa­ter. Fuel cells need H to work. So how is it pro­duced?

More than 90% of hy­dro­gen fuel is made when nat­u­ral gas is re­acted with su­per- hot steam, pro­duc­ing syn­the­sis gas, or syn­gas – a mix of hy­dro­gen, car­bon monox­ide and car­bon diox­ide. Run­ning an elec­tric cur­rent through wa­ter to split it into hy­dro­gen and oxy­gen – a tech­nique called elec­trol­y­sis – is a promis­ing green method if it uses lowe­mis­sion elec­tric­ity such as nu­clear power or so­lar con­cen­tra­tors.

Al­gae, too, have been har­nessed to make hy­dro­gen from wa­ter and sun­light. Re­searchers are work­ing on de­vel­op­ing spe­cialised semi­con­duc­tors that do the same.

“Why aren’t we all driv­ing around in elec­tric cars pow­ered by pro­ton ex­change mem­brane fuel cells? ”

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