hydrogen economy is the use of hydrogen as a low carbon fuel,
particularly for heating, hydrogen vehicles, seasonal energy storage and
long distance transport of energy.
study of the well-to-wheels efficiency of hydrogen vehicles compared to
other vehicles in the Norwegian energy system indicates that hydrogen
fuel-cell vehicles (FCV) tend to be about a third as efficient as EVs
when electrolysis is used, with hydrogen Internal
Combustion Engines (ICE) being barely a sixth as efficient. Even in
the case where hydrogen fuel cells get their hydrogen from natural gas
reformation rather than electrolysis, and EVs get their power from a
natural gas power plant, the EVs still come out ahead 35% to 25% (and
only 13% for a H2 ICE). This compares to 14% for a gasoline ICE,
27% for a gasoline ICE hybrid, and 17% for a diesel ICE, also on a
The hydrogen economy has positive and negative points, but ultimately is less efficient in terms of using renewable energy sustainably.
Hydrogen has one of the widest explosive/ignition mix range with air of all the gases with few exceptions such as acetylene, silane, and ethylene oxide. That means that whatever the mix proportion between air and hydrogen, a hydrogen leak will most likely lead to an explosion, not a mere flame, when a flame or spark ignites the mixture.
makes the use of hydrogen particularly dangerous in enclosed areas such
as tunnels or underground parking. Pure hydrogen-oxygen
flames burn in the ultraviolet color range and are nearly invisible to
the naked eye, so a flame detector is needed to detect if a hydrogen
leak is burning. Hydrogen is odorless and leaks cannot be detected by
The European Commission has funded the first higher educational program in the world in hydrogen safety engineering at the University of Ulster. It could be that the general public will be able to use hydrogen technologies in everyday life with at least the same level of safety and comfort as with today's fossil fuels, but they said that about zeppelins and along came the Hindenburg. We should also remember the number of space craft that have exploded on take off.
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