Science Overcomes Barriers to a Hydrogen Economy

TREND # 4 As we’ve explained in previous Trends issues, utility-level solar and wind energy are not practical because they are unreliable and intermittent. Fortunately, researchers have recently discovered ways to overcome these problems, while also addressing the limitations of batteries in electric vehicles and making agriculture more efficient. Surprisingly, solutions to all of these problems and many more involve better ways to produce and use one of the world’s most important industrial chemicals: ammonia. Ammonia synthesis was one of the critical achievements of the Third Techno-Economic Revolution. Specifically, its use in fertilizers quadrupled the output of food crops we could produce on a given amount of land. This enabled agriculture to sustain an ever-expanding global population and when coupled...

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