Hydrogen: An Environmental Remediation

Hydrogen: An Environmental Remediation

Athule Ngqalakwezi (University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa), Diakanua Bevon Nkazi (University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa), Siwela Jeffrey Baloyi (Mintek, South Africa) and Thabang Abraham Ntho (Mintek, South Africa)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3576-9.ch009


Global warming is a pertinent issue and is quintessential of the environmental issues that the world is facing, and thereby, remedial actions and technologies that aim to alleviate this issue are of paramount importance. In this chapter, hydrogen has been discussed as an alternative energy that can potentially replace traditional fuels such as diesel and gasoline. The storage of hydrogen as a gas, liquid, and solid was discussed. The key issues in hydrogen storage were also highlighted. Furthermore, regulations and legislations concerning the emission of greenhouse gases from fossil fuels-based sources were discussed.
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During the 1700s, industrialization and modern civilizations improved the standard of living for many people around the world. However, this had adverse effects on the environment, resulting in environmental issues like global warming. In 2015, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported that approximately 6,587 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), a major contributor to global warming, were emitted into the atmosphere (Liu et al., 2018). Its significant environmental impact can no longer be ignored. Therefore, the world has experienced a paradigm shift in which clean systems and technology must be implemented.

Hydrogen energy has received attention as an alternative energy source to replace traditional sources like diesel, gasoline, and coal. Hydrogen, which has a zero-emission characteristic, is renewable. In addition, its energy content is higher than current traditional energy sources. Table 1 shows the variation in energy content between traditional energy sources and hydrogen.

Table 1.
Energy density and specific energy of different energy sources

Hydrogen contains a higher chemical energy per mass compared to current traditional fuels. It also contains higher energy content by weight compared to gasoline. It combusts more rapidly than gasoline and is significantly less dense than gasoline (AECC, n.d.). For this reason, hydrogen has been considered for storage of on-board applications.

Apart from the introduction of green technology, legislation and goals have been instituted to mitigate current CO2 emissions. This is due to the global population’s dependency on fossil fuels, which implies that the environment continues to be polluted with greenhouse gases. The legislation is set to manage emissions while research explores environmentally friendly technologies.

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