Over the last few decades, there have been two very serious concerns as regards the way we power our economies. The first and most sever has been the environmental issue. Pollution has steadily increased and is today one of the leading threats to the future of the planet earth and everything that lives in it. The whole world is looking for ways to reduce pollution without compromising economic growth and the quality of life we currently enjoy. The other major concern has been the fact that all the world economies today rely on fossil fuels which are quickly running out due to the ever increasing demand on these precious resources. These two concerns are the main reasons for the hydrogen economy.
In 1970, a gentleman by the name John Bockris came up with the term hydrogen economy while speaking at the General Motors Technical Center. The idea was built around coming up with a system which would replace the fossil fuel powered economy by using hydrogen as the main power source for the economy. The hydrogen economy is expected to counter the harmful effects that using fossil fuels has had on the environment since it burns cleanly and releases no pollutants. It will also have the advantage of being a renewable source of power that is readily available in every part of the world. This will also take away the immense power that oil producing nations have for a long time held over the world economy.
This grand plan is however not without its own setbacks and challenges. The first challenge is that it will require a massive capital investment to move the world economy from reliance on fossil fuel to hydrogen power. This is especially because of the high cost that is involved in producing engines that run on hydrogen. The cost of making these engines is still not economical and there are studies going on to see the best way to deal with this. There is also the question of hydrogen processing since it does not naturally occur in the state it is required in for use as a source of energy. The processes that are used to produce hydrogen such as electrolysis may lead to the production of higher volumes of greenhouse gases than the direct use of the fossil fuel. There is also a concern about the safety of using hydrogen as it is one of the most explosive gases.
Even with so many challenges in the path to achieving a hydrogen economy, many agree that it is a step in the right direction as far as coming up with ideas on improving the way we power our economies. Work continues towards making this a reality along with other numerous projects that are looking for viable alternative sources of power that can be more readily implemented. In the mean time we should all strive to live an environmentally friendly lifestyle that has minimum waste and minimum pollution as we wait for the day the hydrogen economy becomes a reality.