The super element
When it comes to the Periodic Table, hydrogen is number one. Literally and figuratively. Hydrogen is light, simple, and extremely energetic. Here are some interesting facts that make hydrogen such a wonder amongst the other 117 elements in the universe:
The three wonders of hydrogen
The last point—hydrogen as fuel—makes this element a truly transformative agent of change for society with the potential to power everything from cars to cities. Hydrogen embodies three unique characteristics that make it extremely valuable. These characteristics are intrinsic to the element itself and are the foundation that makes it the perfect energy source.
The most abundant element in the universe makes up 75% of matter by mass and more than 90% by the sheer number of atoms. It’s the fuel of stars and is present in every molecule of water—the most plentiful substance here on Earth. It is this abundance that makes hydrogen so attractive as a source of energy that could be powering societies everywhere.
Hydrogen is a clean-burning fuel because it produces zero pollutants during its use. There’s no greenhouse gasses, no emissions, no particulates, and no negative environmental impact. The combustion of hydrogen fuel results only in water vapor that nature immediately reincorporates into the environment. Historically, the challenge has been how to make the production and transportation of hydrogen as “clean” as the element itself.
Hydrogen provides reliable 24/7 availability in any weather, at any time of the day or the night, anywhere in the world. Here’s some perspective: According to a Slate Magazine article, “Hawaii needs more electricity at precisely the moment in the day that sun power starts to fade.” Wind suffers from the same environmental conditions: no wind power where the wind does not blow. Alternative energy sources are problematic in urban areas where wind and sunlight are constrained. 24/7 availability is a huge advantage of hydrogen.
Realizing the wonders of hydrogen
Given the amazing potential of hydrogen in so many areas, it is no surprise that we are rapidly approaching a new era that can be powered by hydrogen energy—despite the big challenges in its extraction and handling processes. Decades of research and work on hydrogen are finally paying off. We are close to a time where we can finally realize the intrinsic benefits of hydrogen and make the universe’s most abundant element available to power humanity’s progress.
One of the most recent hydrogen breakthroughs is around a completely new approach to hydrogen production, or what is called Hydrogen 2.0.
Specifically, this term refers to the highly efficient, localized production of clean hydrogen fuel, on-demand at the point-of-use―safely, affordably and with no carbon emissions. What this means is that, for the first time, we can envision hydrogen going mainstream and opening a new era of commercially viable applications with mass market potential that could change the way we power our factories, offices, and homes.
Hydrogen 2.0 has seven unique benefits that finally promise to unlock the elusive potential of hydrogen. These benefits are inherent to the Hydrogen 2.0 process, making hydrogen a highly efficient and highly available source of clean energy and not just an energy carrier any more.
Economics drives widespread adoption of nearly everything—especially something as pervasive as energy. The process behind Hydrogen 2.0 makes the economics of hydrogen work by the simple fact that it requires no exploration; no mining; no exotic, precious, or rare earth chemicals; and no expensive electrolysis. This process is also affordable for developing economies and provides a level of pricing stability and levelized cost that neither fossil fuels—because of their scarcity or market fluxes, nor renewables—because of fluctuations in their natural availability, can provide.
The Hydrogen 2.0 process converts hydrogen into a gas at the point-of-use, on-site or on-board, where and when it is needed for instant consumption. This distributed and on-demand availability further drives down costs, improves operational flexibility, and creates a safe energy source.
Unlike traditional hydrogen production processes that emit 5 kilograms of greenhouse gasses for every 1 kilogram of hydrogen produced, the Hydrogen 2.0 production process produces zero pollutants during its production or use. Hydrogen 2.0 eliminates both the ecologically damaging greenhouse gasses and the health damaging particulates emitted by coal, diesel, and other hydrocarbon-based fuels. Its use does not lead to loss of habitat or environmental damage, and the process lacks byproducts that could poison downstream processes (such as carbon monoxide or halides).
Just as the economics of producing a fuel drive its adoption, the economics of taking it to market determine whether society can afford it. Hydrogen 2.0 will leverage the world’s existing liquid fuel distribution channels—standard tanks, pumps, and nozzles. It does not require expensive retrofitting or a completely new infrastructure to get energy where it is needed.
Hydrogen 2.0 is produced on-demand where and when it is needed, which means that before you need it, it is stored and transported as water. As a result, it can be stored, without pressure, at a wide range of temperatures (0°C to 90°C). There is no need for compression, or even for special tanks and pipes that are sometimes used to deal with the natural corrosiveness of hydrogen when in high concentrations (i.e., hydrogen embrittlement).
Hydrogen’s volatility has traditionally made storage and transportation expensive when compared to other forms of energy. Because Hydrogen 2.0 extracts hydrogen from water on-demand at the moment of use, it enables the element to remain in a natural liquid state (in water) at room temperature without pressure until the fuel is required. Needless to say, this water-based feedstock is safe to handle, store, and transport; and it is non-flammable and non-hazardous if spilled.
Hydrogen 2.0 makes other fuels cleaner. Specifically, it can be used to manufacture synthetic gasoline or to enrich traditional fuels, boosting the octane and BTU level of hydrocarbons when combined with coal, oil, and natural gas to make them combust completely, burn cleaner, and burn more energetically.
Changing the game by making it all work together
The saying goes that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” This is especially true and relevant when it comes to hydrogen. Combined, the three characteristics intrinsic to hydrogen plus the seven benefits that Hydrogen 2.0 makes possible could finally unlock the enormous economic potential for hydrogen and set it on the path to be the first mainstream no-compromise energy source. Our mission at Joi Scientific is to do exactly that—so everyone, everywhere can finally realize the wonders of the incredible number-one element.
Get smart about Hydrogen 2.0! Click here to see the infographic we created on the ten ways Hydrogen 2.0 can change your game.
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As the Hydrogen 2.0 ecosystem gains momentum, we’ll be sharing our views and insights on the new Hydrogen 2.0 Economy. We also update our blog every week with insightful and current knowledge in this growing energy field.