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About this book

This book describes the challenges and solutions the energy sector faces by shifting towards a hydrogen based fuel economy. The most current and up-to-date efforts of countries and leaders in the automotive sector are reviewed as they strive to develop technology and find solutions to production, storage, and distribution challenges. Hydrogen fuel is a zero-emission fuel when burned with oxygen and is often used with electrochemical cells, or combustion in internal engines, to power vehicles and electric devices. This book offers unique solutions to integrating renewable sources of energy like wind or solar power into the production of hydrogen fuel, making it a cost effective, efficient and truly renewable alternative fuel.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1. The Chemical Element Hydrogen

This chapter provides a basic understanding in the form of a fact sheet for the element hydrogen—the oldest and cleanest element in the world—including its characteristics and physical properties, uses, sources, and other data. Hydrogen is the lightest and most abundant element in the universe; approximately 75% of the mass of the Sun, but only a tiny fraction of the Earth, is comprised of hydrogen. A hydrogen atom consists of one proton and one electron and it is the first element on the periodic table. One of the most serious gases we use is hydrogen—in our cars, buses, space launches from the Cape, and so on.

Bahman Zohuri

Chapter 2. Hydrogen-Powered Fuel Cell and Hybrid Automobiles of the Near Future

Currently, providers of energy utilities are presented with the challenges of increased energy demand and the need to immediately address environmental concerns such as climate change and decreasing the pollution produced by transportation vehicles burning gasoline, for example. Due to population and economic growth, the global demand for energy is expected to increase by 50% over the next 25 years. This significant demand increase along with the dwindling supply of fossil fuels has raised concerns over the security of the energy supply. In view of the increased energy demand and environmental pollution, different approaches such as distributed generation and demand-side management have been proposed and are widely being put into practice. However, optimal utilization of the existing energy infrastructure is an issue that also needs to be addressed properly to deal with the major challenges that energy utilities are facing. A hydrogen vehicle is a vehicle that uses hydrogen as its onboard fuel for motive power. Hydrogen vehicles include hydrogen-fueled space rockets as well as automobiles and other transportation vehicles. The power plants of such vehicles convert the chemical energy of hydrogen to mechanical energy either by burning hydrogen in an internal combustion engine or by reacting hydrogen with oxygen in a fuel cell to run electric motors. Widespread use of hydrogen to fuel transportation is a key element of a proposed hydrogen economy.

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Chapter 3. Hydrogen Driving Thermonuclear Fusion Energy

The thermonuclear fusion reactions in hydrogen isotopes are known to be a new source of energy in two very different situations. At one extreme, relatively slow reactions in a very controlled, confined manner produces theenergy emitted by the Sun and stars, whereas at the other, rapid thermonuclear reactions are responsible for the strong thermonuclear power of the hydrogen bomb. Somewhere between these two extremes, it should be possible to bring about thermonuclear reactions under conditions that will allow the energy to be released from hydrogen atoms at a controllable rate for electricity consumption and to meet the need for a new, yet clean, source of energy. We are mainly concerned with confinement of plasma at terrestrial temperatures (i.e., very hot plasmas); our primary interest is in applications to controlled fusion research in magnetic and inertial confinement reactors, such as the tokomak reactor machine, a magnetic confinement device and which involves a laser-driven pellet fusion chamber and micro-balloon glass, which contains the two isotopes of hydrogen to achieve inertial confinement. This chapter takes a very high-level and general approach to the subject of the two types of confinement of interest in the plasma physics of high temperatures for the purpose of thermonuclear fusion reactions that will take place between the two isotopes of hydrogen (H), namely deuterium (D) and tritium (T). The main purpose of this chapter is to provide the necessary general background for scientists and engineers who are planning to enter the field of research into another source of clean energy via controlled thermonuclear reactions [1–3].

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Chapter 4. Cryogenics and Liquid Hydrogen Storage

Cryogenics is the science that addresses the production and effects of very low temperatures. The word originates from the Greek words kryos meaning “frost” and genic meaning “to produce.” Using this definition, the term could be used to include all temperatures below the freezing point of water (0 °C). However, Professor Kamerlingh Onnes of the University of Leiden in the Netherlands first used the word in 1894 to describe the art and science of producing much lower temperatures. He used the word in reference to the liquefaction of permanent gases such as oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, and helium. Oxygen had been liquefied at −183 °C a few years earlier in 1887 and a race was in progress to liquefy the remaining permanent gases at even lower temperatures. The techniques employed in producing such low temperatures were quite different from those used somewhat earlier in the production of artificial ice. In particular, efficient heat exchangers are required to reach very low temperatures. Over the years the term cryogenics has generally been used to refer to temperatures below approximately −150 °C (123.15 K, −238.00 °F). Cryogenic applications extends beyond its present day-to-day usage, and one important aspect of it is storage of high-density liquid hydrogen. To liquefy hydrogen, it must be cooled to cryogenic temperatures through a liquefaction process. Hydrogen is most commonly transported and delivered as a liquid when high-volume transport is needed in the absence of pipelines. Trucks transporting liquid hydrogen are referred to as liquid tankers [1].

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Chapter 5. Hydrogen: Driving Renewable Energy

Hydrogen can be found in many organic compounds other than water. It is the most abundant element on Earth, but it does not occur naturally as a gas. It is always combined with other elements, such as with oxygen to make water. Once separated from another element, hydrogen can be burned as a fuel or converted into electricity. A fuel cell uses the chemical energy of hydrogen or another fuel to cleanly and efficiently produce electricity. If hydrogen is the fuel, electricity, water, and heat are the only products. Fuel cells are unique in terms of the variety of their potential applications; they can provide power for systems as large as a utility power station and as small as a laptop computer.

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Chapter 6. Nuclear Hydrogen Production Plants

Hydrogen is an environmentally friendly energy carrier that, unlike electricity, can be stored in large quantities. It can be converted into electricity in fuel cells, with only heat and water as by-products. It is also compatible witdecreases sharply with temperature. At ah combustion turbines and reciprocating engines to produce power with near-zero emission of pollutants, as discussed in Chap. 2 and 3. Therefore, hydrogen could play a major role in energy systems and serve all sectors of the economy, substituting for fossil fuels and helping mitigate global warming. The quest for better and cheaper production of this clean substance for consumption is an important task for engineers and scientists, who are working toward zero emissions and a decarbonized environment for the present and future generations.

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Chapter 7. Large-Scale Hydrogen Production

The fast-paced growth of the need and demand for—and dependency on—raw materials such as hydrogen in today’s industries is high on the list of the political economy of most industrial countries around the globe. In particular, besides classical applications of hydrogen in industry, we have come to realize that it is a good source of renewable energy during the on- and off-peak demand for electricity imposed on the grid by fast-growing industrial countries and their populations. However, the question of where the hydrogen comes from and how we can produce it remains. The “sustainable” routes are still too expensive. Steam reforming of hydrocarbons is considered to be the most feasible route today.

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Chapter 8. Hydrogen Storage Processes and Technologies

Hydrogen storage is a significant challenge for the development and viability of hydrogen-powered vehicles. Onboard hydrogen storage in the range of approximately 5–13 kg is required to enable a driving range of greater than 300 miles for the full platform of light-duty automotive vehicles using fuel cell power plants. In addition to production and distribution, costs are associated with hydrogen storage. Little public information is available on the cost of bulk gas storage, meaning a significant error margin exists for the assumptions on storage costs given in this chapter. Hydrogen storage is a key enabling technology for the advancement of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies in applications such as stationary power, portable power, and transportation. Hydrogen has the highest energy per mass of any fuel; however, its low ambient temperature density results in a low energy per unit volume, requiring the development of advanced storage methods that have the potential for higher energy density.

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