Hydrogen Fuel

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Hydrogen fuel is an example for clean fuel. It only produces water if consumed in fuel cells. Hydrogen can be generated from several domestic resources. It can be produced from natural gas, nuclear power, biomass and also renewable power like solar and wind. These characteristics make it a perfect fuel option, especially for transportation and electricity generation applications. It finds its applications in cars, houses, and is also widely used as/for portable power.

Hydrogen acts as an energy carrier as well. It can be used for storing, moving, and delivering energy produced from other sources.

Presently, there are several methods for producing hydrogen fuel. Natural gas reforming (thermal process), and electrolysis are the most widely used methods. It can also be produced through solar-driven and biological processes.

Thermal Processes

It involves steam reforming. It is basically a high-temperature process in which steam reacts with hydrocarbon fuel in order to produce hydrogen. Several hydrocarbon fuels including natural gas, diesel, renewable liquid fuels and gasified coal are reformed, so as to produce hydrogen. Overall, 95 percent of hydrogen is produced through steam reforming of natural gas.

Electrolytic Processes

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Water is divided into oxygen and hydrogen through a process called electrolysis. Electrolytic processes happen inside an electrolyzer. It rather functions like a fuel cell in reverse. Unlike fuel cells, electrolyzers produce hydrogen from water molecules.

Water gets separated into oxygen and hydrogen via electrolysis.

Solar-Driven Processes

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Light is used as the agent for hydrogen production in solar-driven processes. Photobiological, photoelectrochemical, and solar thermochemical are a few solar-driven processes.

Natural photosynthetic activities of bacteria and green algae are used for producing hydrogen in photobiological processes. Specialized semiconductors are used in photoelectrochemical processes for separating water into hydrogen and oxygen.Concentrated solar power is used in solar thermochemical hydrogen production for driving water splitting reactions, along with metal oxides.

Biological processes

Microbes such as bacteria and microalgae are used in biological processes and hydrogen is produced through biological reactions. Organic matter like biomass or wastewater are broken down by microbes producing hydrogen In microbial biomass conversion. On the other hand, sunlight is used as the energy source by microbes in photobiological processes.

Clean Energy

Unlike coal and oil, green hydrogen is a clean source of energy which only emits water vapor, leaving no residue in air. Demand for hydrogen as fuel has tripled since 1975 across the globe. 

Hydrogen is used widely for industrial purposes. Ever since the beginning of the 19th century, it has been used to fuel cars, airships and spaceships. According to the World Hydrogen Council, it is definitely the ‘fuel’ of the future. It becomes all the more relevant, with the decarbonisation of the world economy. 

Advantages/Disadvantages of Green Hydrogen


  • It never emits polluting gasses. It is 100 percent sustainable. 
  • It is easy to store
  • Green hydrogen is very versatile. It can be transformed into electricity or synthetic gas and used for numerous purposes.


  • High cost involved. It is very expensive to derive energy from renewable sources.
  • Involves high energy consumption.
  • Since hydrogen is a highly volatile and flammable element, a lot of safety measures are taken for preventing leakages and explosions.



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  • Hydrogen fuel is used extensively in countries like the United States, China and France. Japan aspires to be a hydrogen economy!
  • Hydrogen fuel finds its application in electricity and drinking water generators. For example, it is used in space missions for providing water and electricity to the crew members.
  • Perfect for storing energy. Compressed hydrogen tanks can store energy for long periods of time.
  • Hydrogen fuel helps in transport and mobility. It finds its application in heavy transport, aviation and maritime transport. For example, the Hycarus and Cryoplane promoted by the European Union. 

Hydrogen is indeed the ‘fuel’ of the future!

Check your knowledge

 Answer) Natural gas reforming (thermal process), and electrolysis.

 Answer) United States, China and France.

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