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Hydrogen engine


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hydrogen seems like the perfect alternative fuel its super light and more explosive than even gas. and when hydrogen is burned it recombines with oxygen to make water. so its powerful and has no bad air pollution. electric cars have big batteries that have harmful chemicals there too heavy and you cant go vary far. so why haven't we switched over to using hydrogen engines?

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1. We can dig petrochemical hydrocardons out of the ground - it is easy. We would need to spend time and energy using this product to create H2

 

2. Storing hydrogen is a complete nightmare

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The energy density (both energy/mass and energy/volume) is relatively small*. That limits the usefulness.

 

There are chemical problems with transporting it — it reacts with piping, making it brittle. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrogen_embrittlement

It also tends to leak.

 

It does not represent a net gain in energy. You don't mine or drill for hydrogen, and get more energy out than you put in; you separate it out of water in a process that requires more energy input. i.e. hydrogen is like a battery, not a fuel source. Oil, coal and gas represent net energy (solar energy that has been stored over eons), and do not suffer (as much) from the above problems.

 

(edit: xpost with imatfaal)

 

* for the gas. But if you go with liquid, you raise a whole new set of issues.

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Only thing I can think of that might work would be the utilization of waste hydrogen from oxygen production operations. Would be pretty limited in scale though.

I think oxygen is separated from the nitrogen in the air rather than split from hydrogen in water when it is made in industrial quantities

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