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Science Innovation Centre · 001 · Hydrogen

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Hydrogen is the first element in the periodic table.

In normal conditions it’s a colourless, odourless and insipid gas, formed by diatomic molecules, H2. The hydrogen atom, symbol H, is formed by a nucleus with one unit of positive charge and one electron. Its atomic number is 1 and its atomic weight 1,00797 g/mol. It’s one of the main compounds of water and of all organic matter, and it’s widely spread not only in The Earth but also in the entire Universe.

The most important use of hydrogen is the ammonia synthesis. The use of hydrogen is extending quickly in fuel refinement, like the breaking down by hydrogen (hydrocracking), and in sulphur elimination. Huge quantities of hydrogen are consumed in the catalytic hydrogenation of unsaturated vegetable oils to obtain solid fat. Hydrogenation is used in the manufacture of organic chemical products. Huge quantities of hydrogen are used as rocket fuels, in combination with oxygen or fluor, and as a rocket propellant propelled by nuclear energy.

Hydrogen can be burned in internal combustion engines. Hydrogen fuel cells are being looked into as a way to provide power and research is being conducted on hydrogen as a possible major future fuel. For instance, it can be converted to and from electricity from bio-fuels, from and into natural gas and diesel fuel, theoretically with no emissions of either CO2 or toxic chemicals.