Hydrogen (H2) is an odourless, colourless, tasteless and highly flammable gas. It is lighter than air, and burns with an invisible, clean (carbon-free and soot-free) flame. Some see hydrogen gas as the clean fuel of the future – generated from water and returning to water when it is oxidised. Hydrogen-powered fuel cells are increasingly being seen as ‘pollution-free’ sources of energy and are now being used in some buses and cars.

Hydrogen (H2) also has many other uses. In the chemical industry it is used to make ammonia for agricultural fertiliser (the Haber process) and cyclohexane and methanol, which are intermediates in the production of plastics and pharmaceuticals. It is also used to remove sulfur from fuels during the oil-refining process. Large quantities of hydrogen are used to hydrogenate oils to form fats, for example to make margarine. In the glass industry hydrogen is used as a protective atmosphere for making flat glass sheets. In the electronics industry it is used as a flushing gas during the manufacture of silicon chips.
Caution: When using hydrogen, hoses used should be resisted to hydrogen permeation. Due to it highly combustible and can auto ignite either a low ignition energy, hydrogen cylinder must not be snifted. (open the valve momentarily to release small volume of gas to clean and clear dust from the valve neck. Hydrogen can be spontaneously ignite upon release and will burn with an invisible flame).

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