Investments in the Megatrend
of Hydrogen Fuel Plays.
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|Pronunciation: (meg'u-trend"), [key] |
a major trend or movement.
| ||Listed, OTC:BB, Pinks, Grays, and Foreign Exchange welcome - if you have a stock that associates itself with Hydrogen Fuel... it may belong here. |
Fill vehicle fuel tanks with it instead of gasoline. Pipe it to homes to generate electricity onsite, while providing heating and hot water, instead of sending electricity through transmission lines. And emit only water vapor where it is used.
Hydrogen offers great opportunities. Fuel cells that electrochemically combine hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity and heat offer the promise of making hydrogen an ideal universal fuel. Make that an ideal energy carrier rather than a fuel, because while hydrogen does grow on trees and fall with the rain, it does not occur naturally by itself. It cannot be mined or harvested. But other energy sources can be used to make hydrogen, and then the hydrogen transported or stored for use where and when needed.
Most hydrogen production today is by steam reforming natural gas. But natural gas is already a good fuel and one that is rapidly becoming scarcer and more expensive. It is also a fossil fuel, so the carbon dioxide released in the reformation process adds to the greenhouse effect. Hydrogen has very high energy for its weight, but very low energy for its volume, so new technology is needed to store and transport it. And fuel cell technology is still in early development, needing improvements in efficiency and durability. The challenges NREL researchers are working on to help make a hydrogen economy a reality include:
- Fuel Cells — Improving fuel cell technology and materials needed for fuel cells.
- Production — Developing technology to efficiently and cost-effectively make hydrogen from renewable energy sources.
- Storage — Developing technology to efficiently and cost-effectively store and transport hydrogen.
For more basic information on hydrogen, see the National Renewable Energy Laboratory 2003 Research Review article "New Horizons for Hydrogen." (PDF 1.1 MB) Download Adobe Reader.
For more basic information on fuel cells, see the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) fact sheet "Fuel Cell Overview." (PDF 227 KB) Download Adobe Reader.
Also see the U.S. Department of Energy's Hydrogen, Fuel Cells, and Infrastructure Program; Alternative Fuels Data Center, and list of hydrogen topics and links.
Hydrogen is the simplest and most abundant element in the universe. Hydrogen can be produced from a wide variety of domestic resources using a number of different technologies. Fuel cells harness the chemical energy of hydrogen to generate electricity without combustion or pollution. NREL is working to develop and demonstrate advanced hydrogen and fuel cell technologies to reduce our nation's dependence on foreign oil, improve our air quality, and maintain our economic competitiveness. Learn more about hydrogen and fuel cells.
Hydrogen and fuel cell R&D efforts at NREL are focused on hydrogen production and delivery, hydrogen storage, fuel cells, technology validation, safety, codes and standards, and analysis. These research areas directly support the NREL Hydrogen, Fuel Cells & Infrastructure Technologies Program. The goal of this program is to help industry develop technologies to produce, store, transport and use hydrogen made from renewable resources in quantities large enough, and at costs low enough, to compete with traditional energy sources such as coal, oil and natural gas.
NREL's hydrogen and fuel cell research activities crosscut and contribute to advances across the laboratory-in photovoltaics (PV), bioenergy, transportation, wind, buildings, and basic sciences. The Hydrogen Technologies & Systems Group of the Hydrogen Technologies & Systems Center coordinates and integrates NREL's hydrogen and fuel cell research activities, and works with DOE and other government agencies, industry, communities, universities, and other national labs to implement the National Hydrogen Energy Vision for America's clean and secure energy future. See how we're organized.
NREL's Hydrogen & Fuel Cells research supports the U.S. Department of Energy's
The Hydrogen, Fuel Cells & Infrastructure Technologies Program, part of the Department of Energy Hydrogen Program, works with partners to advance the development and widespread use of hydrogen and fuel cells.
Hydrogen and fuel cells are an important part of the comprehensive and balanced technology portfolio needed to address the nation's two most important energy challenges—significantly reducing carbon dioxide emissions and ending our dependence on imported oil. Hydrogen, an energy carrier, can be produced from abundant and diverse, domestic resources; fuel cells provide a clean and efficient way to use this energy for numerous applications. Together, hydrogen and fuel cells represent a radically different approach to energy conversion.
List of Alternate Fuel Stocks by Type -
New Oxygen-Hydrogen Battery Could Be Key to Storing Solar Energy
Researchers have come up with a cheap and easy process for storing solar energy, in a finding that could provide one of the final elements for efficient solar power systems: the ability to store excess energy in a battery for use later when the sun isn’t shining.
Researchers are euphoric about their invention, which could mark a great leap forward in solar technology; previous experimental batteries used to store solar energy have been bulky, expensive and inefficient. “This is the nirvana of what we’ve been talking about for years,” said [lead researcher Daniel] Nocera in the press release. “Solar power has always been a limited, far-off solution. Now we can seriously think about solar power as unlimited and soon” [Christian Science Monitor].
The new technique involves the standard process of electrolysis, in which a current is run through a liquid and used to split apart its chemical components. In this case, water is broken down into oxygen and hydrogen, which can be stored and recombined to power a hydrogen fuel cell. Current methods of producing hydrogen and oxygen for fuel cells operate in a highly corrosive environment, Nocera said, meaning the entire reaction must be carried out in an expensive highly-engineered container. But at MIT this week, the reaction was going on in an open glass container about the size of two shot glasses that researchers manipulated with their bare hands, with no heavy safety gloves or goggles [Reuters]. The researchers’ breakthrough was the creation of a new catalyst for the electrolysis reaction, using the common elements cobalt and phosphate.
The report, published in the journal Science [subscription required], is provoking speculation that the technology could do more than power houses at night; it could also figure into a larger switch to a “hydrogen economy,” in which fuel cells could be used as a clean energy source to power everything from cars to factories. Biochemist James Barber says that this work “opens up the door for developing new technologies for energy production, thus reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and addressing the global climate change problem” [Reuters]. While much more research needs to be done to test the system’s economic viability, Nocera says he hopes commercial products will be available within a decade.
Image: MIT/National Science Foundation
Fuel cells are devices that generate electric power. They are being developed as an alternative to internal combustion engines in vehicles. Most fuel cells apply proton exchange membrane technology producing energy from hydrogen and oxygen by using platinum catalysts. The use of fuel cells brings about environmental and economic advantages. They are more energy efficient and produce negligible pollution. All the major automotive companies, lead by Daimler-Chrysler, are planning to have fuel cell powered light vehicles by 2003-2004. Actually, there are already some fuel cell heavy vehicles working. However, the doubt remains since every vehicle using a fuel cell will be one that will not use a conventional autocatalyst. The effect on platinum demand will depend on which device uses more platinum. Present research is focusing on improving performance and reducing costs of fuel cells. Fuel cells can also provide stationary power generation. The use of platinum in fuel cells seems to be one of the platinum applications with best prospects for future demand.
Bush: 'Hydrogen is the Fuel of the Future' (4/23/06)
“I strongly believe hydrogen is the fuel of the future. That's what we're talking about,” he said. “It has the potential – a vast potential to dramatically cut our dependance on foreign oil. Hydrogen is clean, hydrogen is domestically produced and hydrogen is the way of the future.”