21st Century's Energy: Hydrogen Energy System
Fossil fuels (i.e., petroleum, natural gas, and coal), which meet most of the world’s energy demand today, are being depleted fast. Also, their combustion products are causing the global problems, such as the greenhouse effect, ozone layer depletion, acid rains, and pollution, which are posing great danger for our environment and eventually for the life in our planet. Many engineers and scientists agree that the solution to these global problems would be to replace the existing fossil fuel system by the Hydrogen Energy System. Hydrogen is a very efficient and dean fuel. Its combustion will produce no greenhouse gases, no ozone layer depleting chemicals, little or no acid rain ingredients, and pollution. Hydrogen, produced from renewable energy (e.g., solar) sources, would result in a permanent energy system, which we would never have to change. However, there are other energy systems proposed for the post-petroleum era, such as a synthetic fossil fuel system. In this system, synthetic gasoline and synthetic natural gas will be produced using abundant deposits of coal. In a way, this will ensure the continuation of the present fossil fuel system. The two possible energy systems for the post-fossil fuel era (i.e., the solar hydrogen energy system and the synthetic fossil fuel system) are compared with the present fossil fuel system by taking into consideration production costs, environmental damages, and utilization efficiencies. The results indicate that the solar hydrogen energy system is the best energy system to ascertain a sustainable future, and it should replace the fossil fuel system before the end of the 21st century.
KeywordsCombustion Methane Toxicity Petroleum Steam
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