Low-Carbon Technologies: Hydrogen as a Fuel Source

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Hydrogen can be used as a fuel source through several methodologies.  In a pure hydrogen flame, the combination of hydrogen and oxygen will create water and heat.  This heat is a source of energy.  In addition, the hydrogen that was oxidized to water can be disassociated into water and hydrogen through the addition of an external energy source.  This external source may be a fossil fuel (most commonly coal), nuclear energy (through a nuclear fission or nuclear fusion reaction), or a renewable energy source (such as hydroelectric, wind, or solar power).  The hydrogen that is used as a fuel source is thus not the hydrogen gas that exists naturally, but the hydrogen gas supplied via manufacture. 

The main concern with using hydrogen as a fuel source is the greenhouse gas emissions produced when an external energy source must be applied to dissociate the elements of water.  This energy source has typically been a fossil fuel, and the resulting reaction has produced noticeable greenhouse gas.  Procedures using alternative energy sources are currently being researched and developed.  Nuclear energy has thus far been considered the most feasible energy source because of nominal emissions resulting from hydrogen production.  By applying high-temperature waste heat to water, the heat dissociates the hydrogen and oxygen.