Making hydrogen

Jim Barry's letter "H2 should compete on its own" (OGJ, Mar. 3, 2003, p. 10) mentions that using hydrogen as a fuel requires "expenditure of considerable energy." For sure. But if we look deeper into this axiom, we will see the futility in trying to manufacture hydrogen on a mass scale to generate electricity with fuel cells.From the heat of formation of water, we can calculate that the theoretical energy in electricity required to make 2 lb of hydrogen, by decomposing water is 35.1 kw-hr. The theoretical energy that a fuel cell can generate from 2 lb of hydrogen is 29.7 kw-hr. The difference is the heat of vaporization of water. The best fuel cells are 70% efficient, so they will gen...

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