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  • Dexter Hom

Hydrogen: The Key to our Energy Problems

As we all know, energy is a huge part of our lives and has caused some serious problems, from fossil fuel emissions to poorly-made power lines and generators. However, researchers at Harvard University have found a possible way to fix these problems. The answer is found in the most common element in the universe: hydrogen. With only one proton and electron, hydrogen is not a complicated element, but there's so much to learn about it. Hydrogen is a major component of our water and air, but these scientists have been theorizing a way to turn this basic component of life into a metal to use for electronics. They’ve theorized that the only way to turn hydrogen gas in our atmosphere to a solid, metallic form is to use extreme amounts of pressure, about 250,000 times the pressure from our atmosphere at sea level on Earth. This sounds impossible, considering that the pressure at the center of the Earth doesn’t even come close to the amount of pressure needed.

To solve this, these clever researchers took frozen hydrogen at temperatures hundreds of degrees below zero and compressed it with chemically-coated diamond anvils.

This newly created substance requires further testing, but it's predicted to be a superconductor, able to allow electricity to flow through it even better than modern power lines. With this, we could have almost 100% efficiency in electronics. In addition, hydrogen is a clean fuel that could be used to replace gasoline and rocket fuel, lessening our contributions to greenhouse gases and climate change.

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