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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Talkback on hydrogen vehicles

Friend Curly felt his comment on Why you'll be in a hovercar before you'll drive with hydrogen
was too long for the comment area, so I'm posting it here. I'll post a response tomorrow, hopefully.
Your hovercar/hydrogen post and link made me want to write the following ... which I felt was too long for a comment but which I'm gonna say to you anyway.

AWESOME! I always wanted a hovercar!

I don't agree with the article, though.
1) Saying that the process isn't available now does not negate the benefits of the process should it be made available.
2) Most of the 80% inefficiency he's added up has to do with startup costs - pts 3&4 seem to be the biggest losses, and in both cases it seems reasonable that once the system is in place and demand grows, more efficient means will be desired and engineered.
3) Start-up does seem like the biggest hurdle. Who's the chicken and who's the egg? Unfortunately, Government would have to be both, at least to get the process started. This seems to me like the biggest argument against Hydrogen - that in order to get to a point where private companies buy in, the public would have to get things rolling. But between raising taxes and government mismanagement of funds (war ain't cheap) this seems pretty unlikely.

But these are things we have to argue for. Not find reasons to argue against.

What alternatives does Nelder offer?
a) Status Quo
b) Solar
c) Wind
To which I say:
a) No on Quo
b&c) These are great, should be improved, fit right into the Hydrogen plan, and are actually good parallels to Hydrogen as being great ideas which people avoided for years because they were "impractical" and "inefficient". Hydroelectric, Nuclear, hamsters-on-treadmills ... also similar ideas.

I feel like Nelder is trying to lead us back into the cycle of delay wherein a new technology or idea is ridiculed and denied and deemed impractical for as long as possible, right up until enough people see through the haze of rhetoric and realize that this "new fangled impractical idea" is exactly what they want. Why follow him down this path? Why not accept the logic behind desiring Hydrogen energy-currency, and use that desire to try to affect the changes that are needed to make it efficient and feasible?

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