Keywords: global warming, climate change, energy sources, hydrogen energy, solar energy, renewable energy, efficiency, life cycle, environment, greenhouse gases, GHG emissions, exergy, non-fossil fuels, hydrogen production, thermochemical water decomposition, nuclear energy, nuclear power
Combating global warming via non-fossil fuel energy options
Non-fossil fuel energy options can help reduce or eliminate the emissions of greenhouse gases and are needed to combat climate change. Three distinct ways in which non-fossil fuel options can be used in society are examined here: the capture/production of non-fossil fuel energy sources, their conversion into appropriate energy carriers and increased efficiency throughout the life cycle. Non-fossil fuel energy sources are insufficient to avoid global warming in that they are not necessarily readily utilisable in their natural forms. Hydrogen energy systems are needed to facilitate the use of non-fossil fuels by converting them to two main classes of energy carriers: hydrogen (and hydrogen-derived fuels) and electricity. High efficiency is needed to allow the greatest benefits to be attained from energy options in terms of climate change and other factors. A case study is considered involving the production of hydrogen from non-fossil energy sources via thermochemical water decomposition. Thermochemical water decomposition provides a realistic future non-fossil fuel energy option, which can be driven by non-fossil energy sources (particularly nuclear or solar energy) and help combat global warming.