In 2007, I was the lead author on a non-fiction book titled, The Hydrogen Age. At that point, I had invested about fifteen years of my life in efforts to expand public awareness of hydrogen as a critical part of any transition to clean, renewably produced energy.
The book was a critical success, especially with people in the clean energy business.
Technically, hydrogen is not a source of renewable energy, but instead is an energy carrier. By taking electricity generated from wind turbines, solar panels, tidal and wave action, river currents, and geothermal steam and running it through an electrolyser, you can split water molecules into their constituent elements, hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen can then be stored for use on demand. It can be used to power internal combustion engines like those in most cars or turbines like those in jet aircraft. It can also be used in a device called a fuel cell to produce useful electrical energy.
The transition to a ‘Hydrogen Economy’ is moving ahead, particularly on the other side of the Atlantic, where the European Union and Germany in particular, are directing billions of Euros in a transition away from fossil fuel dependence to a sustainable economy, whose foundation is clean, renewably produced energy with hydrogen as a primary storage medium.
In the US, the move to clean, renew ably produced energy is proceeding, but at a much slower pace. This is almost entirely because energy policy in the US is controlled by ‘big oil’ and other entrenched energy lobbies. The current administration is going backwards on energy policy. In fact, the Trump government has reversed the US policy on climate action, by making the U.S> the onlynationo n Earth that is not part of the UN. Climate Accord.
Toyota and Honda already have announced limited production of their first hydrogen fueled vehicles for sale in their retail showrooms. Things appear on very much on track for that to happen in Europe and Japan, and perhaps China, where efforts are underway to put the fueling infrastructure in place to support hydrogen powered vehicles.
Unfortunately, until the U.S. has a more progressive government, public policy here will remain badly corrupted.