When combined with other elements, it makes all sorts of things possible – water, food, even the human body! Hydrogen may well be the original champion on earth – since it’s the oldest and most abundant element, found in all growing things and making up 75% of our entire universe.
A pair of hydrogen atoms creates a molecule (H2). This is the smallest molecule in the universe and is 14 times lighter than air. To give you an idea of just how small it is, 3 million hydrogen molecules can fit across the width of a human hair.
But despite being extremely small, lightweight, and odourless, this molecule packs a powerful punch! A hydrogen fuel cell takes hydrogen and oxygen and converts the chemical energy into electricity, water and heat – without other harmful emissions, such as CO2.
We all need energy to power our daily lives, and this demand continues to grow. 2019 marked a historical high for energy-related CO2 emissions. So, it’s clear: to limit global warming by reducing our CO2 emissions we need to find cleaner ways to produce, store, and use energy – we need a global energy transformation! If we put hydrogen at the core of this energy transformation, we can help reduce the world’s carbon footprint and improve air quality in cities and urban areas. It can help clean up our transport and buildings. It is also one of the only options for decarbonising high impact sectors, such as steel, refineries, and agriculture.
Experts recognise that this tiny superpower molecule, when combined with other cleantech solutions, will have a positive impact on all our lives in the decades to come, and ensure we hand over a better world to the next generation.
By 2050, hydrogen could meet 18% of the world’s energy demand. That might not sound like much, but if you consider the annual reduction of CO2 (6 gigatonnes) you get a clearer picture of the immense impact this percentage can have.