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How to Make Hydrogen

How to make hydrogen is a question asked by many wanting to know the big picture or the small picture of this process. In the big picture, most hydrogen today is made by steam reforming natural gas. The oil companies do this to create hydrogen for use in their refineries to deal with the sulfur content of petroleum.

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Making Hydrogen
Making Hydrogen
 

On a small scale, there are a few home hydrogen fueling station prototypes such as those developed by Honda that also use steam reforming of natural gas to create hydrogen. In this scenario a large part of the hydrogen comes from the cracking of the steam (water or H2O) into hydrogen and oxygen and another part comes from the hydrogen-rich content of natural gas.

Now, on a small scale there are a couple of ways to make hydrogen that a person can actually do at home. Here is a cautionary note, however. Hydrogen is extremely flammable and combustible so great care must be taken when either handling the materials or in relation to the gas.

It's not very hard to get hydrogen to blow up or catch on fire when experimenting with it in your garage or backyard. The how to make hydrogen question comes into play first in relation to cars that use it for supplementary fuel.

Water is electrolyzed into HHO gas (two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen) and sometimes the hydrogen and separated from the oxygen as needed. Other times the HHO gas stays intact and helps an engine achieve improved gas mileage and lower emissions.

Backyard experimenters often want to know how to make hydrogen for other purposes such to impress friends and family. This is dangerous so again great caution needs to be taken. Hydrogen can be made using aluminum, water and simple cleaning compounds such as drain cleaner. Here is a video showing the process.

The water and drain cleaner are typically added to an aluminum can or other bottle with aluminum in it that acts as a catalyst and hydrogen gas is created from the combination of these elements. Sometimes a hose with a balloon at the end will be used to show hydrogen being created.

Another caution is in order as well as the hydrogen gas and balloon can get very hot (and explosive). So, if you want to know how to make hydrogen, the most favorable method first is to watch someone else do it such as in a video and second, if you just have to do, it exercise great caution.

By the way, hydrogen on demand generators that are used in cars, use only a small amount of H2 at any one time that they are very safe. In addition, they are installed so that they will only run when the car is turned on, another safety feature.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 


 

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