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Looking to Hydrogen as the Future of Renewable Energy

The potential of hydrogen as an alternative clean energy source, not just for vehicles but also to generate electricity, is still being explored. But because hydrogen can be produced from almost any form of energy, including fossil fuels and renewable energy such as solar, wind, and hydro power, it’s very promising.

The secret to hydrogen’s success is that it’s not an energy source in itself but can store the energy from other sources. In effect, it becomes a fuel that can be stored in tanks, for example.

A fuel cell — somewhat like a battery — converts the energy stored in the hydrogen to electricity by using an electrolyte, which separates the hydrogen’s protons and electrons to create a stream of electrons (electricity). The fuel cell’s electrochemical process creates water and heat as byproducts rather than greenhouse gases.

Fuel cells are very small and produce very small amounts of electricity, so cells are stacked together for practical applications. The size of the stacks is one design issue, as is the cost of the components.

It will likely be some years before hydrogen makes it off the testing grounds and into everyday life due to the current cost of the technology — but it could be part of your future.

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