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? ”