There is much talk of the possibility of a future ‘hydrogen economy’, which will power all our vehicles and homes. It is important to remember that hydrogen is not an energy source; it is an energy carrier. To obtain hydrogen it must be split from either natural gas or water molecules. The former, most widely used, method not only requires energy but also gives off carbon dioxide (CO2) in the process. Hydrogen produced in this way requires more energy to make than will eventually be returned when it is used. It makes more sense from a climate perspective to burn the natural gas itself than to convert and re-convert it to hydrogen in this way.
The third report of the year from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is expected to green-light nuclear power and large-scale biofuel production as a way of tackling climate change, to the dismay of environmentalists worldwide.
Unlike large dams, now widely acknowledged to be unsustainable and ineffective, micro-hydro involves the use of small mills and dams to provide clean energy and an alternative source of income for rural communities.