Fossil fuels (i.e., petroleum, natural gas and coal), which meet most of the world’s energy demand today, are being depleted rapidly. Also, their combustion products are causing global problems,
such as the greenhouse effect, ozone layer depletion, acid rains and pollution, which are posing great danger for our environment, and eventually, for the total life on our planet.
Many engineers and scientists agree that the solution to all of these global problems would be to replace the existing fossil fuel system with the clean hydrogen energy system. Hydrogen is a very efficient and clean fuel. Its combustion will produce no greenhouse gases, no ozone layer depleting chemicals, and little or no acid rain ingredients and pollution. Hydrogen, produced from renewable energy (solar, wind, etc.) sources, would result in a permanent energy system which would never have to be changed .
Fossil fuels possess very useful properties not shared by non-conventional energy sources that have made them popular during the last century. Unfortunately, fossil fuels are no t renewable. In addition, the pollutants emitted by fossil energy systems (e.g. CO, CO2,CnHm, SOx, NOx, radioactivity, heavy metals, ashes, etc.) are greater and more damaging than those that might be produced by a renewable based hydrogen energy system (Winter CJ.1987).
Since the oil crisis of 1973, considerable progress has been made in the search for alternative energy sources. A long term goal of energy research has been the seek for a method to produce hydrogen fuel economically by splitting water using sunlight as the primary energy source.
Much fundamental research remains to be done. Lowering of worldwide CO emission to reduce the risk of climate change (greenhouse effect) requires a major restructuring of the energy system. The use of hydrogen as an energy carrier is a long term option to reduce CO emissions.
However, at the present time, hydrogen is not competitive with other energy carriers. Global utilization of fossil fuels for energy needs is rapidly resulting in critical environmental problems throughout the world.
Energy, economic and political crises, as well as the health of humans, animals and plant life, are all critical concerns.
There is an urgent need of implementing the hydrogen technology. A worldwide conversion from fossil fuels to hydrogen would eliminate many of the problems and their consequences. The production of hydrogen from non-polluting sources is the ideal way. Solar hydrogen is a clean energy carrier. Hydrogen obtained from solar energy is ecologically responsible along its entire energy conversion chain. Energy stored in hydrogen would be available at any time and at any place on Earth, regardless of when or where the solar irradiance, the hydropower, or other renewable sources such as biomass, ocean energy or wind energy was converted. Solar hydrogen is a clean energy carrier. It makes solar energy as storable and transportable as oil and natural gas are by nature, but with the burden of their negative environmental impact.
Solar hydrogen combines the advantages of hydrocarbons (storability and transportability) with the advantages of solar energy(ecological acceptability, renewability and low risk). Solar hydrogen has no need for the carbon atom, which makes the hydrocarbons almost infinitely storable at room temperatures, but is also the reason for their negative ecological impact. Technology developments have created several challengers to the gasoline powered, internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle. Short of some wonderful new technology emerging, the evolving gasoline fueled ICE will continue to be the choice of consumers and automakers.