Hydrogen Energy vs Nuclear, Fossil Fuels, Solar, Gasoline, & Other Energy Sources & Fuels

Hydrogen energy has a few differences to other energy sources and fuels.

In this guide, we outline what some of those differences and unique features and considerations might be.

 

Summary – Hydrogen Energy vs Nuclear, Fossil Fuels, Solar, Gasoline, & Other Energy Sources & Fuels

In the guide below, we’ve compared hydrogen energy to the different energy sources in three distinct categories:

– vs other energy sources and fuels in general

– vs Nuclear, Fossil Fuels, & Solar, as these energy sources are more commonly used for electricity production

– vs Gasoline, as this fuel is more commonly used in vehicles and transport 

 

Let’s take a look at them …

 

Hydrogen vs Other Energy Sources & Fuels In General

A few general differences between hydrogen energy and other energy sources and fuels in general right now are:

– Perhaps the biggest difference between hydrogen and almost every other energy source is that hydrogen energy requires hydrogen to be produced first before the hydrogen can be used to generate energy or electricity. Hydrogen is generally made from primary energy sources like natural gas (via steam reforming), and in some cases, renewable sources like solar and wind (via electrolysis). So, hydrogen is dependent on these primary energy sources

– Another big difference is that hydrogen can either be used directly (as a gas or liquid fuel), or used in a fuel cell to produce electricity. Some energy sources can only be used to produce electricity 

– Yet another big difference is that hydrogen has a range of potential uses, such as use as a raw material in industry, to produce electricity, as a gas in heating and cooking, as a fuel in a fuel cell, and as a fuel in rockets. Not all energy sources have this range of uses

– The cost of hydrogen energy tends to be more expensive than other energy sources and fuels right now. This is evident in the capital costs of fuel cells compared to other energy sources

Hydrogen is not as established, developed, or used on anywhere near the scale that many other energy sources and fuels are right now – especially fossil fuels like coal, natural gas, and oil

The future of hydrogen energy has it’s own set of variables and factors linked to it’s individual challenges such as cost, supply and demand, economies of scale, and more

Hydrogen as a gas or liquid has some unique traits/properties that present risks in terms of it’s storage, transportation and use

 

Hydrogen Energy vs Nuclear, Fossil Fuels, & Solar

– Nuclear energy has mainly been used for stationary electricity generation, whereas hydrogen energy can be used for electricity generation, a fuel for transport, and more

Hydrogen energy can be used as a way to ‘store’ the surplus electricity produced by renewable energy. This can be done by using the surplus electricity from solar or wind for example in the electrolysis process, and ‘storing’ that electricity in the form of the hydrogen that is produced. This hydrogen can be used as direct fuel, or in fuel cells. Using hydrogen to store energy might be an alternative to other storage options like batteries. Hydrogen energy can ‘enable’ the capabilities of other energy sources in this way

 

Hydrogen Energy vs Gasoline

Hydrogen fuel cell cars aren’t used on anywhere near the scale (in terms of total numbers) that gasoline vehicles are right now in many countries. This stretches across to infrastructure such as refuelling stations too

– Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles tend to be more expensive per mile than internal combustion vehicles running on gasoline at the moment, and therefore less competitive economically (energy.gov)

 

Sources

1. https://www.energy.gov/eere/articles/hydrogen-clean-flexible-energy-carrier#:~:text=Hydrogen%20can%20be%20used%20in,and%20utilities%20are%20emerging%20markets

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