Talking green power on Earth Day 2011April 22, 2011
Earth Day is here, bringing to mind the number of environmental issues currently facing humanity. While such issues are subject to vehement debate, it is clear that changes need to be made in the way people look at the world. Breaking society’s reliance on oil is one of the most widely agreed upon issues of today, but solutions to this problem have been few and far between. Ethanol, once lauded as the future fuel of the world, proved to be more environmentally costly than its supporters had claimed. This has caused many to question whether alternative fuels really hold the answer.
As the demand rises for more eco-friendly technologies, more companies are turning to alternative energies. Wind, solar and nuclear power are all options that have produced either mediocre results of shown sufficient risk for catastrophic failure. Both wind and solar energies are capable of supporting a community en masse, but the construction of a system large enough to meet such demands far exceeds any budget established for such an endeavor. Faced with such a reality, many are now turning to hydrogen for an answer.
Hydrogen is the most abundant element known to man. Its production occurs naturally when an electric current is introduced to water through a process called electrolysis. Normally taking years, the process is expedited through the machinations of fuel cells, which use the hydrogen to generate electricity. The byproduct of the process is nothing more than water pure enough to drink.
More companies and organizations are making use of fuel cells because they offer the same, if not better, performance as systems relying on oil. Major technological adv
ancements are making the fuel cells much more affordable and efficient, only lending to their credibility as the fuel of the future.
Adoption of hydrogen has been slow and long overdue. As society becomes ever more environmentally conscious, however, fuel cells are beginning to take their place as humanity’s best alternative to oil.