Technical Innovations for Yemen HYDROGEN: Energy of the Future [Archives:1999/52/Business & Economy]

December 28 1999

Hydrogen is available everywhere in the universe. Oceans, seas, rivers, and ponds are full of water, which is composed of Hydrogen and Oxygen.
In its simplest application, hydrogen is the cleanest-burning fuel It contains no carbon atoms, the only product is water vapor and trace amounts of nitrous oxide. Water can be split into hydrogen and oxygen. Hydrogen can be used again and again as fuel. No hydrocarbons, carbon dioxide or sulfur oxides are produced. The hydrogen as fuel satisfies the “zero-emission” standard. The biggest disadvantage of hydrogen as a fuel is that it is a gas and it has to be liquefied and stored under high pressure. There is a great storage hazard. However, new developments are foreseen to help solve this problem in engine and storage technologies.
The automation BMW already has hydrogen fuel vehicles on the road although not for public. The engines in these vehicles can run on both hydrogen and gasoline. The performance of these cards is very good. Power output drops from 210-horse power (hp) with gasoline to 150 (hp) with hydrogen. The top speed reduces to only 130 miles per hour (208 k/h) from 150 mph (240 k/h) with gasoline.
A US research group at the Northern University in Boston discovered a way to store hydrogen at room temperature and about 40 atmosphere. The method uses graphite nanofibers that can store up to three times their weight of hydrogen. This is more than ten times what current technologies can achieve. If the researchers were correct in their findings, a graphite storage cartridge would be able to power a fuel cell vehicle a reported 5000 miles (8000-km).
Old technologies use liquefied hydrogen at five atmospheres, keeping it cool with layers of aluminum and glass fiber.
Refueling of hydrogen cars is another obstacle. However, robots are well developed now that they are capable of refueling vehicles. The technology is actually initially designed for gasoline and diesel but could easily be adapted to pump hydrogen by simply changing the type of seal used.
We are only a few years away from the hydrogen-fueled vehicles. Yemen has a good reserve of natural gas from which hydrogen can be stripped in the process of production of coke. Hydrogen can be used as fuel for many purposes among which is the use in vehicles.
Coke is highly demanded internationally and can be exported very easily. Actually, an export oriented that coke production unit will be very successful. Coke is used in dry battery cell electrodes, tires and as an anti-static additive in the plastic industry. In Yemen, coke is used intensively for cooking in rural areas and for tobacco burning by “mada’a” smokers. Coke is currently made in Yemen by partial burning of wood. This is adding to the increase of the desert of Yemen and intensifying its environmental problems.
By: Future Industries Consultants,