Three researchers, who contributed to the report prepared by the National Research Council and the National Academy of Engineering on the prospects for a hydrogen economy, conclude in new article that, if achievable, it will take “several decades” to overcome technical challenges standing in the way of the mass production and use of hydrogen fuel cell cars.
Energy is one of the grand challenges facing the global community. While the use of H2 as an energy carrier has been demonstrated, its wide-scale use is laden with potential technical, economic, and societal impasses. Some major obstacles to an H2 economy are: reduction in fuel cell cost by one order-of-magnitude while enhancing performance attributes; storage and transportation of H2; and evolution of a suitable infrastructure.
If successful, an H2 economy and associated infrastructure will not be realized for several decades. Because success is not certain, it will be wise to maintain a robust portfolio of energy research and development that includes programs in areas other than H2.
The article, written by Rakesh Agrawal, Purdue University’s Winthrop E. Stone Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering, Martin Offutt, from the National Research Council, and Michael P. Ramage, a retired executive from ExxonMobil, appears in the June issue of the AIChE Journal, the publication of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.
Hydrogen economy—an opportunity for chemical engineers?, AIChE Journal Volume 51, Issue 6, Pages 1582-1589
The Hydrogen Economy: Opportunities, Costs, Barriers, and R&D Needs, National Academies Press, 2004