Hydrogen appears to be the green energy source of the future and the race is on for those who want to be part of it. Cavagna Group is actively looking to establish a foothold in the hydrogen powered vehicles market and this energy networks market.
Nowadays the importance of environmental sustainability is continuously growing. We all know that the planet’s survival depends on making the right choices. This new awareness is pushing for the use of renewable energy sources and the word ‘decarbonization’ has now become part of common parlance. The various strategies have one main purpose: to produce the energy required to develop the economy and safeguard people’s well-being, while avoiding excessive CO2 emissions. The increased use of wind and solar energy has certainly had a significant impact. Unfortunately, some limits remain, due to the “intermittence” of this kind of energy production. In other words, it’s difficult to have continuously available energy. Against this backdrop, hydrogen has entered the scene as alternative energy source and it’s commanding greater attention. Indeed, this naturally occurring, almost inexhaustible element can be an advantageous energy carrier. So, let’s find out more about this gas with surprising characteristics.
What hydrogen is and how it is sourced
Hydrogen is the lightest element in nature (14.4 times lighter than air) and the most abundant in the universe. On earth, for example, it can be found in volcanic emissions. It’s also present in combination with other elements in many compounds, for example water, mineral substances, hydrocarbons, and many organic substances. To obtain hydrogen, it must be extracted from the substances that contain it. That’s why it is considered an energy carrier as opposed to other primary energy sources.
Hydrogen: the transformation and uses
Hydrogen can produce energy in two main ways:
- It can be burned by itself or in combination with other fuels, such as natural gas;
- it can be combined with oxygen to obtain a chemical reaction, which is converted into electricity through a device known as a fuel cell.
Hydrogen is a good fuel in its gaseous state: when burned, it generates 2.6 times the heat of natural gas.
If cooled to -253°C, it becomes liquid and no longer chemically reacts with metals.
Hydrogen can be stored and transported as a gas or as a liquid. It can also be stored on the surfaces of solids (by adsorption) or within solids (by absorption).
What you can do with 1 kg of hydrogen
- power a fuel cell vehicle for over 100 km
- generate enough energy to produce almost 10 kg of steel
- heat a 100 m2 apartment for about 2 days
Hydrogen is definitely an interesting contender as an attractive alternative energy source. Stay tuned to find out about Cavagna Group’s upcoming hydrogen solutions.