Hydrogen has the potential to revolutionize transportation and, possibly, our entire energy system. The simplest and most abundant element in the universe, hydrogen can be produced by electrolyzing water. Producing hydrogen with renewable energy holds the promise of virtually pollution-free transportation and independence from imported petroleum.
Hydrogen is an energy carrier, not an energy source. Energy is required to separate it from other compounds. Once produced, hydrogen stores energy until it is delivered in a usable form, such as hydrogen gas. Hydrogen can be produced using diverse, domestic resources including renewable energy technologies. The environmental impact and energy efficiency of hydrogen depends greatly on how it is produced. One way to produce hydrogen is through Renewable electrolysis— where an electric current generated by renewable energy technologies, splits water into hydrogen and oxygen.
What is hydrogen?
Hydrogen is the simplest and most abundant element in the universe—it is number 1 on the periodic table of elements. Hydrogen is locked up in enormous quantities in water (H2O). Efficiently producing hydrogen from these compounds is one of the challenges of using hydrogen as a fuel. Hydrogen also can be used to fuel internal combustion engines which can power low- or zero-emissions vehicles. Major research and development efforts are aimed at making hydrogen vehicles practical for widespread use.
Learn more about hydrogen from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Hydrogen, Fuel Cells, and Infrastructure Technologies Web site.
**Information provided by the US Department of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy are for educational purposes only and do not state or imply endorsement of EERE or any EERE employee of a commercial product, service, or activity.