Alternative Energy Source: Hydrogen
There is currently a frantic search for a replacement to oil as our major energy source. At least a lot of people talk about replacing oil as an energy source. The reality is that most of the research is more theoretical than anything else because there is really no money being in invested in the project. One of the options that has been talked about for the longest time is hydrogen. Potentially hydrogen could replace oil as the fuel source for our cars and other vehicles but there is a long way to go. Unless something dramatic happens it will take a long time for anything to happen since nobody appears to be all that interested in investing any real money into developing hydrogen technology.
There are actually a few different ways that hydrogen can be used as an alternative energy source. The most likely options are to burn it directly or to use it in a fuel cell. A fuel cell would simply combine hydrogen and oxygen to produce water with electricity being produced as a side product. Fuel cells have been around for a number of years having originally been developed as a power source for space craft during the sixties. They have always shown potential but have remained as one of those things that would become a major source of energy in the future. Somehow fifty years later it is still something that people are talking about as a something for the future.
There are some issues that do need to be overcome if we are going to use hydrogen as an energy source. The biggest is that it currently takes more energy to produce the hydrogen than the amount of energy we get out of it. This is going to have to change if we are going to use it as an energy source. The other major issue is getting access to hydrogen, currently most of it comes as a by product from the production of petroleum. Of course if we replace the petroleum with hydrogen we would lose our source of hydrogen. Some people have theorized that you can extract the hydrogen from water but so far nobody has done this without having to use far more energy than they put into it.
The biggest problem with hydrogen is the same one that affects most sources of alternative energy and that is money. It will take an investment of a lot of money and a lot of time to make hydrogen a viable option. The problem is that investors normally expect to get a return on their investment in much shorter time frame than that required to develop hydrogen technology. In order to get investors to tie up their money for the time that will be required to make hydrogen profitable the payoff would have to be spectacular. Since nobody can guarantee that it is hard to attract investors. That means that it will be a long time before hydrogen is a serious candidate to replace oil.