R. J. Press, K. S. V. Santhanam, M. J. Miri, A. V. Bailey, G. A. Takacs
John Wiley & Sons Inc., Hoboken, 2008, pp. 308
Print ISBN: 978-3-540-70535-2
Energy sources such as fossil fuels, natural gas, and coal are expected to be depleted within the next decades or centuries, and the greenhouse effect is a growing problem. In this political, economical, and ecological environment, hydrogen seems to be a promising and sustainable energy source because it is a renewable fuel and because the product of its combustion is water. The growing interest in hydrogen technology requires introductory textbooks for people entering the field. The book by Press, Santhanam, Miri, Bailey, and Takacs tries to fill that gap by describing the fundamental aspects of hydrogen chemistry and technology.
Chapter 1 deals with the available renewable and nonrenewable energy resources, energy consumption, and demands of the future. The greenhouse effect and even energy ethics are also part of this chapter. The physical and chemical properties of hydrogen are the subject of Chapter 3. The important problem of hydrogen storage by different methods is comprehensively described.
Chapter 4 focuses on several aspects of hydrogen technology, for example, production using renewable energy, hydrogen infrastructure, and hydrogen safety. The essentials of fuel cells are discussed in Chapter 5, and include the classification, thermodynamics, efficiency, and management of fuel cells. The final chapter deals with fuel cell applications, for example, stationary power production, hybrid systems, transportation applications, micro-power systems, and space and military applications.
Finally, a short look at Chapter 2, which is entitled “Chemistry background” and is a bit out of the ordinary. This chapter provides a clearly arranged introduction in several general aspects of chemistry, for example thermodynamics, kinetics, acid–base chemistry, organic chemistry, and polymers. However, most of the topics discussed within the 123 pages of this chapter, for example the IUPAC naming of alkenes, are not essential for an understanding of hydrogen chemistry and are beyond the scope of an introduction to hydrogen technology.
All chapters are well structured and descriptive examples are given. Technical terms are intelligibly defined. Unfortunately, only a few chapters have short bibliographies. The figures embedded in the text are monochrome and also printed in color on special pages in the middle of the book. This is confusing and reminds me of the style of historical textbooks. Despite some errata, Introduction to Hydrogen Technology is an excellent and comprehensive introduction to all aspects of hydrogen chemistry and technology. A highlight is the discussion of hydrogen safety in Chapter 4.3. The authors illustrate that safety risks of hydrogen are comparable to other fuels such as gasoline or methane. The assessment of hydrogen fuel in Chapter 4.4 is also very informative. The advantages and problems related to the production and storage of hydrogen are discussed in detail, for example the limited availability of water in many geographical areas.
This book is written in such a manner that a reader who is not experienced in the field will easily understand the basic background. Therefore, I can recommend this book to scientists, engineers, students, and members of the general public who are interested in hydrogen technology.
DECHEMA e. V., Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
published in ChemSusChem 2009, 2, 781.