World conversion to hydrogen energy: Impact of regional differences

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

First Committee Member

T. Nejat Veziroglu, Committee Chair


Challenges facing the world today have been discussed. If current trends in population growth, energy consumption, emissions of pollutants and GHGs, and income distribution continue, these challenges will, in all likelihood, turn into global crises or catastrophes. To remedy these concerns, hydrogen has been proposed to replace petroleum. In this study, the transition from petroleum to hydrogen has been modeled for a three-region world.Annual projections of population, fuel consumption, CO2 emissions, and gross regional income have been generated over a 100-year horizon. A quality of life index was defined and calculated based on the above parameters to assess the well-being of a region for any given year. Results show that world population is predicted to reach between 9 and 9.5 billion by the end of the century. They also indicate that oil and natural gas production will reach a peak by 2028 before starting to decline irreversibly and falling to about half of today's level by the mid-century.Furthermore, fuel consumption will follow this decline unless a substitute for petroleum is introduced. If synthetic fuel derived from coal replaces petroleum, global CO2 emissions from fuel consumption will soar to more than 55 billion metric tons by the year 2100 and quality of life will deteriorate with respect to today's levels. If, on the other hand, hydrogen (initially from fossil fuels, later from renewable energy sources) is introduced, then severe environmental consequences of the former scenario could be averted. Nevertheless, if this introduction is slow, a sharp decline in fuel consumption will not be prevented unless synthetic fuel compensates for the shortfall, in which case the global warming concerns will continue to weigh heavily on the energy markets.It has, therefore, been concluded that the best course of action is to accelerate the hydrogen introduction rate in order to avoid a global energy and economic crisis and minimize the amount of pollution as well as the rate of global warming progression and maximize the quality of life of the regions and prevent possible global conflicts induced by petroleum. If hydrogen catches up with fuel demand in a timely manner, then it is expected that by the end of the century, total fuel consumption will double as compared to that of today's levels and CO2 emissions will be significantly reduced. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)


Engineering, Mechanical; Environmental Sciences; Engineering, Environmental

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