Hydrogen Fuel Vs. Fossil Fuel

by Debashree Sen; Updated September 26, 2017

Hydrogen is a high-quality energy and is used to power fuel cell vehicles. Fossil fuels, which mainly include petroleum, coal and natural gas, provide for the major extent of energy needs around the globe today.

Production

Hydrogen readily combines with other molecules. The three ways generally used to liberate hydrogen are: using heat and catalysts to “reform” hydrocarbons or carbohydrates; electricity to split (electrolyze) water; experimental processes based typically on sunlight, plasma discharge or microorganisms. Fossil fuels are non-renewable source of energy. They were formed from the organic remains of prehistoric plants and animals and have been transformed into to carbon-containing fuels by geological action over millions of years.

Emissions

Hydrogen-fueled vehicles emit no greenhouse gases or other pollutants. During combustion, hydrogen produces only water vapor. On the other hand, the combustion of fossil fuels is the largest source of atmospheric pollution. Combustion of coal and petroleum are said to be responsible for the release of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide into the atmosphere.

Efficiency

Hydrogen fuel is very efficient. More energy is extracted from this fuel source than with conventional power technologies, according to Tobin Smith for Billion Dollar Green. Fossil fuels have a high combustion rate and are capable of releasing tremendous amount of energy.

Cost

Hydrogen is currently expensive because it is difficult to generate, handle and store. Fossil fuels are less expensive in comparison.

Future

Fossil fuels serve as the primary source of energy at present. However, fossil fuel reserves are gradually depleting. Although hydrogen fuel is being used on an experimental level at present, it has great potential for the future.

About the Author

Debashree Sen is a technical writer and has written for non-profit organizations. She has been regularly contributing to eHow since 2009. She is a member of the Society for Technical Communication (STC). She has a master's degrees in professional writing and English literature.