Excerpt from speech given on GREEN LEADERS SUMMIT 2013 – Sydney, Australia
The world is now at a turning point in planning its energy provision for the future, as the industrial growth, and climate change effects of global warming have to be addressed.
There are schools of thought that picture a Hydrogen Economy based on combustion, while others see domination of fuel cells as the principal energy vector for the future.
Hydrogen powered cars are rolling out of production lines as we speak, where the combustion emission side effect is pure water.
Fuel cell technology which uses hydrogen in a clean electrochemical process to generate electricity is currently well advanced for stationary and mobile applications.
Hydrogen is the most common element in the universe and there is compelling logic that leads us all to believe that surely this gas can provide an almost limitless source of energy for the world.
However, chemical activity and the physical properties of hydrogen make its isolation a highly energy-intensive process.
Nearly all the hydrogen currently manufactured in the world is through the steam reforming of hydrocarbons, process that has low energy conversion efficiency and results to rapidly growing number of 8.8 billion tons of carbon being emitted annually – this is data from 2009 by Royal Society of Chemistry.
Necessity to heat the enormous catalyst inside the steam reformer to the high working temperature average of 8000C, spends large amounts of energy in order to operate.
8.8 billion Tonnes of carbon emitted in the atmosphere are devastating result of the anticipated “clean energy” usage.
We cannot seriously think of kick-starting Hydrogen Economy without addressing this first obstacle.