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Monday, July 30, 2007

Why you'll be in a hovercar before you'll drive with hydrogen

Here's the most damning statistic. Read the short article for the full problem with hydrogen.
To build a "hydrogen economy," we would need to start over with everything. Hundreds of thousands of miles of pipeline, 90,000 new pumps at service stations, 210 million vehicles, everything.


Anonymous said...

What a load of pessimistic crap this article is. Chris Nelder's comments are inaccurate and packed with hyperbole. Don't waste your time reading it. If you have already, please read a few more lines below to begin to understand how unbalanced the article is.

Start over with everything?? That's simply not true. Studies have shown that for alternative fueled vehicles, you need 8-10% penetration in the area the vehicles will be driven to have an acceptable level of convenience for fueling.

Dirty little secret? There's no secret. Some ways you produce hydrogen produce zero emissions. Others produce some CO2. The trick is to make sure that overall you're reducing emissions compared to the way we use fuels today while making the fuel economically viable. Did you know that even when you produce hydrogen from natural gas (the feedstock used to produce most of the hydrogen used for now), if you use that hydrogen in a fuel cell vehicle, over the entire life of the fuel (from well to wheels), you will only emit 10-40% fewer emissions compared to a HYBRID gasoline-electric vehicle and 50% less than a conventional gasoline car?! That's a huge improvement you can make TODAY before the transition to renewable hydrogen production is made more visibly.

Efficiency? Even though the author's numbers are grossly exaggerated, I've got a newsflash for you, hydrogen overall is WAY more efficient than the current fuels we use (well to wheels). You can't just look at production. That's only half the story. You need to look at the other half which is use.

Why convert to hydrogen? Because of the flexibility it affords in the ways you can use it. There is value in the hydrogen well beyond a string of backwards efficiency arguments. Plus, if the author was balanced, he would have mentioned the other side of the coin that when you actually use it, you're 2-3 TIMES more efficient than conventional cars.

It's so sad that such slanted pieces like this actually get published.

Anonymous said...

I agree whole heartedly with the other commentator. Look north to Quebec if you want to find a viable renewable enrgy source for hydrogen production. THe hydroelectric potential of Quebec is estimated at 729TwH. Big, no, huge rivers running down big hills and more water than anywhere on earth. By the end of 2008 Quebec will be producing 10.6Twh more than enough to fuel, say, New England. That is with the addition of only two dams on the La Grande system. The great whale river could add a futher 20twh. Its not just about the environment its about maitaining a technological advavtage over competitors. We are getting killed economically by foriegn competition, its time to change the rules and shift the paradigm.