Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Thursday, June 1, 2006


We need an alternative source of fuel

By Ishan Zaman

Lamborghini maintains its tradition of associating with bulls. It produces its environmentally friendly 2BP (bullpower) supercar that runs on natural methane gas from natural bulls

Every minute, every second, brings us closer to the planned destruction of our world. In the not-so-distant future, we'll be paying for an idiotic mistake we could correct almost without effort.

The majority of the world's devices and vehicles are powered by fuel, usually gasoline, or some other popular fossil fuel. The problem is, these fossil fuels destroy our atmosphere by the huge amounts of unfriendly gases they produce when burnt. Our world needs to look toward a better and less destructive type of fuel. A fuel like hydrogen.

Hydrogen should be used as an alternative source of energy because it's found in abundance, produces clean byproducts, and is easy to obtain. These three features make hydrogen a fuel worth using universally, to reduce atmospheric pollution, and to delay our ultimate fate.

Of the countless reasons hydrogen should be used as an alternative energy source, a major one is that there are huge, immeasurable amounts of hydrogen available. Hydrogen is a natural element found in the universe, and on the earth, it can be found in various forms and compounds, the most abundant and obvious being water. Water is composed of two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen, so passing electrical surges through water mechanically could release amounts of hydrogen capable of being used for fuel. Hydrogen can also be generated by microorganisms, the most common being alga, where modifying its genetic structure would render it capable of producing hydrogen through a slightly altered version of photosynthesis.

Another of the many sources of hydrogen would be natural gas, which contains methane, a hydrogen compound. Because of the vast amounts of hydrogen around, it's not in danger of running out anytime soon, and because many other organisms are capable of producing hydrogen, it can also be considered renewable, just like plants and solar energy.

Additionally, it has also been discovered that burning hazelnuts gives off hydrogen, and although it may not be the ideal way of obtaining hydrogen in terms of air pollution, it's a start; a method which any developing country can easily utilize by growing or importing cheap hazelnuts. Seeing that smaller countries can easily convert their economies and fuel sources to be based on hydrogen, big countries such as the United States and China should have absolutely no problem doing it.

Even a few hydrogen factories would be greatly beneficial to the environment, as global warming is beginning to take its grip on the fate of the world, a fate which should be fully in our grip.

A secondary reason hydrogen should be used is because hydrogen produces clean byproducts. In comparison to fossil fuels, hydrogen wins without effort due to its one amazing feature: hydrogen produces no pollution. Its only byproduct is pure water, something that does nothing but purify and clean the environment.

The fuel is completely natural, and produces no greenhouse gases to warm up Earth. Not only that, but it's harmless to the ozone layer, producing no chemicals or gases to destroy atmospheric molecules, unlike fossil fuels and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).

When in comparison with nuclear fuel, another fuel alternative considered by large countries, it prevails in the category of cleanliness as well. Nuclear processes to generate useable fuel generally produce dangerous radioactive waste, which, as of now, has no safe way of disposal. Overall, hydrogen fuel is the best way to fuel the majority of the world's devices and vehicles when it comes it global cleanliness and environmental safety.

The last and probably simplest reason hydrogen should be used as an alternative source of energy is because it's easy to obtain. Paired with the fact that hydrogen can be found almost anywhere in huge amounts, it's more than easy to discover and utilize a source of hydrogen for fuel. Hydrogen can be produced by plants and microorganisms, as stated before. Furthermore, hydrogen can also be found trapped under waterlogged soil habitats, from paddies, bogs, and swamps to melted tundra. Hydrogen can also be generated through a process called “electrolysis,” where electricity is passed through water.

By such a simple process, countries could easily convert their sources of fuel to hydrogen, the source of electricity for electrolysis being some sort of harmless way, such as windmills, solar, or even geothermal energy. And probably the biggest source of hydrogen would be the ocean, where unrivaled amounts of hydrogen just waiting to be used lie. With so many sources of such a clean fuel, we could easily start using hydrogen without worrying about destroying ourselves and our habitats.

The three reasons to use hydrogen as an alternate energy source being that it produces cleaner byproducts, it's found in abundance, and it's easy to obtain make hydrogen a necessary fuel for the future. It overcomes fossil fuels in almost every way imaginable. Without a doubt, hydrogen would indefinitely delay, or even halt, the inevitable future of the planet.

The writer studies in Ridge Middle School, Virginia, U.S.A.

(1)Johnson, Rebecca L. The Greenhouse Effect. Minnesota: Lerner Publications Company, 1990. 44-46.
Morgan, Sally. Future Energy. United States: Aladdin Books Ltd, 2006. 26-27.
Snedden, Robert. Energy Alternatives. Illiniois: Heinemann Library, 2002. 16-17.
Westrup, Hugh. “What a Gas!” School Library Journal. April 6 2001: 1-4. Infotrac Junior Edition. LRMS Library. 25 March 2003.


home | The Daily Star Home

2006 The Daily Star