Hydrogen, the most abundant chemical element in the universe, can be put to many different uses. Read through this article and refresh your knowledge of basic chemistry.

Uses Of Hydrogen

The mere mention of the word ‘hydrogen’ teleports you back to a fourth grade science class. As impertinent as it may seem to the masses that aren’t aeronautical engineers or ardent members of the fading science clubs, hydrogen is an element life would be impossible without. When hydrogen burns, it combines with oxygen to form water, a primary requisite for survival. Doesn’t H2O ring a bell? As we all know, 75% of the universe’s fundamental mass is composed of hydrogen.

Proven to be tremendously flammable, hydrogen often triggers fires at temperatures of 560 °C. Due to its weightlessness, every trace of atmospheric hydrogen has vanished into outer space. Hence, hydrogen is generally obtained artificially, mainly through hydrocarbons. Invisible to the naked eye, this diatomic gas contains three isotopes - protium, deuterium and tritium (a radioactive substance that gradually decomposes into helium). Hydrogen comes freeloaded with numerous advantages that impel the world to move forward. Whether, for petroleum industries or nuclear reactors or basic existence, nobody can deny that hydrogen is indispensable! Scroll down to the bottom and enlighten yourself with the wonders of hydrogen!

Different Uses Of Hydrogen

Elevation Booster
Ever wondered how weather balloons fly? The answer is hydrogen. The atomic weight of a hydrogen atom is only 1 while that of an oxygen atom is 16, confirming that hydrogen is indeed much lighter than air. Observe how a hydrogen pumped balloon readily floats upwards into the sky. Originally labelled as ‘ideal’ for lifting lighter-than-air airships, hydrogen was used to thrust zeppelins into another country (popular in Germany) until the infamous ‘Hindenburg Crash’ manifested its highly flammable quality, rendering it unfeasibly dangerous. Hence, hydrogen was quickly replaced by helium because it doesn’t ignite hazardous sparks albeit twice as heavy as hydrogen gas.

Flying Rockets
The combustible nature of hydrogen fuses with pure oxygen to form the fuel essential for launching rockets. Thanks to the natural existence of hydrogen gas, rockets and space shuttles can wander into space and discover newer concepts and entities about our phenomenal universe. In fact, NASA has been making the most of hydrogen to help power rockets since 1958.

Hydrogen Cars

Since hydrogen burns to produce water, it is regarded as one of the cleanest fuels available. In this context, it was largely recommended that hydrogen be used to power automobiles with the aim of lowering global warming and air pollution. Hydrogen created for cars is generally extracted from methane, the fumes of which are detrimental to the environment.

Acids And Bases

In every acid and base, you will discover the presence of hydrogen atoms. Hydrogen atoms are directly infused to create any acid. Take the example of hydrogen chloride: H2 + Cl2 → 2HCl or hydrocyanic acids which are essentially amalgamations of hydrogen, carbon and ammonia.


Hydrogen is vital for petrochemical processes like hydride-alkylation, hydride-sulfurization, and hydro-cracking, to break down crude oil into fuel oils and gasoline, thereby enabling extensive usage. During the elaborate refining process, hydrogen is required to desulphurize fuel. This in turn enhances gasoline production.

Hydrogen is necessary for the production of ammonia (NH3), which is necessary for making fertilizers. Mixing hydrogen with nitrogen is the key to making strong ammonia. Researchers are attempting to create a process by which hydrogen can be separated from water through wind power, thereby quickening the development of be used in the production of fertilizers.

Hydrogen gas is the harbinger of good and bad things. It is an imperative hydrogenating agent for various polyunsaturated fats, by which margarine is derived from liquid vegetable oil. This simultaneously aids the making of unhealthy trans-fats that are dropped into cookie batters and innumerable other favourite foods.


Even procedures like welding require the utility of hydrogen to safeguard and isolate the welding site from atmospheric gases such as oxygen and nitrogen which could interfere with the process. Hydrogen’s high thermal conductivity permits the rotors in electrical power generators to cool down.

Nuclear Reactors And Hydrogen Bombs
The nuclei of hydrogen atoms mingle to produce helium nuclei when subject to extremely high temperatures. Through this fusion, a massive amount of energy is rapidly generated, popularly referred to as ‘thermal nuclear energy’. This lead to the birth of hydrogen bombs which are said to be far more powerful than an atomic bomb. The impact of a hydrogen bomb is frightening as it exudes a temperature as bad as that of the sun. Although, scientists draw closer and closer to finding means for harnessing this energy to create electric power that is less fatal to the earth, nuclear reactors dominate the research arena.

How to Cite

Related Articles

More from iloveindia.com