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Easy. Attach the hydrogen to some carbon atoms, burn the whole lot, and plant trees to recycle the resulting CO2 and H2O into more hydrocarbon fuel, using free solar energy.
Currently this method is far more expensive than refining what we can dig out of the ground, but I think (hope) this will change in the next 10 years or so as it becomes more expensive to extract fossil fuels (especially if there is an economic mechanism to account for environmental harm) and cheaper to make our own fuels as technology advances and when economies of scale manifest.
There are three special things about hydrogen that make it attractive as a fuel:1) It is very abundant (~10% of ocean's mass and >70% of matter in universe is H by mass)
2) On a "per mass" basis it has unmatched energy density (142 MJ/kg, that's three times that of gasoline or lithium)
3) the only combustion product is water, which is non-corrosive, non-toxic and environmentally benign
There are plenty of reasons that is not an ideal fuel though, for instance: it is relatively expensive to store and transport, forms explosive mixtures with air across a very wide range (18–60% in air can explode, and 4–94% can burn), and easy to ignite.
I agree that it seems the simplest way to store hydrogen is in compounds such as hydrocarbons. It wouldn't make sense to do it in a car,
I agree that it seems the simplest way to store hydrogen is in compounds such as hydrocarbons. It wouldn't make sense to do it in a car, but we have the technology to react hydrogen directly with CO2 to make hydrocarbons...