Apr 10 2012
Apple Data Center puts Charlotte in national spotlight as the debates over hydrogen fuel continues! Trying to become the nation’s “greenest” and “most technologically advanced” company, Apple recently has declared that they are fueling their new data center in suburban Charlotte solely from hydrogen power. While no one is faulting Apple for trying to use this very clean source of energy, a conflict of interest debate has come up and Apple is facing heat from the press.
As gas prices have continually climbed over the last decade or so, hydrogen power has long been regarded as the “energy of the future.” Pictured below, the chemical equation of hydrogen power shows why many people have begun to support research and development of this clean energy.
2 H2 + O2—-> energy + 2 H20
Because energy and water or the only byproducts of this chemical reaction, it’s not hard to see why many Americans say they would prefer the use of hydrogen fuel cells rather than dirty, greenhouse gas emitting gasoline or coal. But, at this period in time there are a number of reasons prohibiting us from seeing widespread use of hydrogen fuel cells.
1. It currently takes more energy to yield pure hydrogen then the cells omit when they are used.
2. Fossil fuels are the main source of energy used when trying to yield pure hydrogen.
3. The process used to “take the energy” is very complicated (as shown in the video below) and it would be very expensive to convert all formerly gasoline run systems to this process.
4. Lastly, the use of hydrogen fuel cells, especially in automobiles is impractical. Hydrogen either has to be..
a) Kept at very high pressures, which would cause fuel cells to be much larger than their gasoline tank counterparts to hold the same amount of potential energy. Or
b) Kept at very low temperatures to keep the hydrogen in its liquid form, which is infeasible considering our cars often spend long periods of time in warm weather.