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Fuel Cells Are Here

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  • Lanyon, Ryan
    I was flipping through the Globe & Mail yesterday (a national Canadian newspaper) when I happened on a full-page ad for the new Honda FCX. No surprise,
    Message 1 of 12 , Apr 30 7:07 AM
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      I was flipping through the Globe & Mail yesterday (a national Canadian
      newspaper) when I happened on a full-page ad for the new Honda FCX.

      No surprise, Canada's newspapers are chock full of car ads. For some reason
      I decided to actually look at this one. The headline '30 years later'
      didn't mean much to me. But the subhead 'Introducing the Honda FCX, the
      first zero-emission fuel cell car on the road,' made me gasp.

      The ad further states: "A breakthrough as remarkable as the new Honda FCX
      doesn't arrive overnight. It results from decades of research, engineering
      and unwavering commitment...And now Honda is delivering the FCX to the City
      of Los Angeles - the first zero-emission fuel cell car to be certified for
      everyday use. It is a car so clean, all it leaves behind is water vapour.
      Has an emissions-free future finally arrived? Certainly that day is
      beginning to dawn bright and clear."

      The fine print says that the Honda FCX is not available in Canada.

      I had previously watched an episode of Venture on the CBC about hydrogen
      filling stations. They reported that a Canadian company had set up nine,
      most of which were in California
      [http://www.cbc.ca/venture/fuelcell/monster.html%5d. But I still thought this
      was a long way off.

      Why is this all important? Because it unravels 30 years of education about
      the negative environmental contributions of automobiles. Too much of the
      fight to reduce auto traffic has been centred on its emissions and fuel -
      specifically from the tailpipe, and not from production. This changes the
      nature of that entire debate, and now may set some allies against each
      other; clean air advocates versus those who see automobiles as causing many
      more social, economic and public health ills.

      The skeptic in me also wonders just how innocuous all that water will really
      be...Thinking about desert cities like Phoenix, adding a great deal of
      humidity to the air could make for some very uncomfortable situations. In
      winter cities, water as an emittant could lead to dangerous road conditions.
      I suppose we shall see...

      -RL
    • turpin
      ... Water is the major byproduct of any hydrocarbon combustion, including all existing cars. I doubt fuel cells will generate significantly more water than
      Message 2 of 12 , Apr 30 8:38 AM
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        "Lanyon, Ryan" wrote:
        > The skeptic in me also wonders
        > just how innocuous all that
        > water will really be..

        Water is the major byproduct
        of any hydrocarbon combustion,
        including all existing cars. I
        doubt fuel cells will generate
        significantly more water than
        existing engines. I also doubt
        that fuel combusion makes a
        significant contribution to
        atmospheric water. There is a
        LOT of water in ordinary air,
        even in desert regions.
      • R. Walter
        Isn t that false advertising? Are they only talking about zero local emissions? Can they do that? Fuel cells obviously add to emissions at the point where the
        Message 3 of 12 , Apr 30 10:23 AM
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          Isn't that false advertising? Are they only talking about zero local
          emissions? Can they do that?
          Fuel cells obviously add to emissions at the point where the fuel is
          manufactured, if it is not manufactured using
          solar energy.

          ----- Original Message -----
          From: "Lanyon, Ryan" <ryan.lanyon@...>
          To: <carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Wednesday, April 30, 2003 9:07 AM
          Subject: [carfree_cities] Fuel Cells Are Here


          > I was flipping through the Globe & Mail yesterday (a national Canadian
          > newspaper) when I happened on a full-page ad for the new Honda FCX.
          >
          > No surprise, Canada's newspapers are chock full of car ads. For some
          reason
          > I decided to actually look at this one. The headline '30 years later'
          > didn't mean much to me. But the subhead 'Introducing the Honda FCX, the
          > first zero-emission fuel cell car on the road,' made me gasp.
          >
        • phillip m. torrone
          ... you ll have people say that energy used to produce the solar panels obviously add emission at the point where they are made or the factory that makes
          Message 4 of 12 , Apr 30 10:33 AM
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            R. Walter wrote:
            > Isn't that false advertising? Are they only talking about zero local
            > emissions? Can they do that?
            > Fuel cells obviously add to emissions at the point where the fuel is
            > manufactured, if it is not manufactured using
            > solar energy.

            you'll have people say that energy used to produce the solar panels
            obviously add emission at the point where they are made or the factory that
            makes then...or the power plant that supplies the power...

            i'm excited about the upcoming hybrids and fuel cell cars, we gave up one
            car...and if we need to keep the remaining one, we'll get a hybrid or fuel
            cell once one comes out that fits our needs.

            cheers,
            pt
          • Jym Dyer
            ... =v= All absolutely true and worthy of consideration. Why just shrug it off as something you ll have people say? =v= Fuel cells have nice tailpipe
            Message 5 of 12 , Apr 30 6:39 PM
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              > you'll have people say that energy used to produce the solar
              > panels obviously add emission at the point where they are
              > made or the factory that makes then...or the power plant that
              > supplies the power...

              =v= All absolutely true and worthy of consideration. Why just
              shrug it off as something "you'll have people say?"

              =v= Fuel cells have nice "tailpipe" emissions, but they require
              other emissions. "Out of sight, out of mind" is hardly a sound
              policy.
              <_Jym_>

              P.S.: Fuel cell cars would still pollute with tire dust and
              lead poisoning from wheel weights, of course. Plus they'd
              still kill and injure people, cost lots of money, and prop
              up a Hellish transportation infrastructure based on sprawl.
            • phillip m. torrone
              ... i m not shrugging it off at all. it s all about trade-offs. some folks look at those, some don t. ... i m not a fuel cell fan for many reasons, that s
              Message 6 of 12 , Apr 30 6:57 PM
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                Jym Dyer wrote:
                > =v= All absolutely true and worthy of consideration. Why just
                > shrug it off as something "you'll have people say?"

                i'm not shrugging it off at all. it's all about trade-offs. some folks look
                at those, some don't.

                > =v= Fuel cells have nice "tailpipe" emissions, but they require
                > other emissions. "Out of sight, out of mind" is hardly a sound
                > policy.

                i'm not a fuel cell fan for many reasons, that's certainly one of them.


                > P.S.: Fuel cell cars would still pollute with tire dust and
                > lead poisoning from wheel weights, of course. Plus they'd
                > still kill and injure people, cost lots of money, and prop
                > up a Hellish transportation infrastructure based on sprawl.

                yep, we need to not only work on improving the cars that are out there but
                all the other things you mentioned.

                cheers,
                pt
              • Wes Ballew
                How will the U.S. pay for streets, etc? What will be taxed? Will all roadways be paid for out of the general fund (I know it is something like 60% now)? Just
                Message 7 of 12 , May 1, 2003
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                  How will the U.S. pay for streets, etc? What will be taxed? Will all roadways be paid for out of the general fund (I know it is something like 60% now)? Just curious.

                  >>> bookofseg@... 04/30/03 08:57PM >>>
                  Jym Dyer wrote:
                  > =v= All absolutely true and worthy of consideration. Why just
                  > shrug it off as something "you'll have people say?"

                  i'm not shrugging it off at all. it's all about trade-offs. some folks look
                  at those, some don't.

                  > =v= Fuel cells have nice "tailpipe" emissions, but they require
                  > other emissions. "Out of sight, out of mind" is hardly a sound
                  > policy.

                  i'm not a fuel cell fan for many reasons, that's certainly one of them.


                  > P.S.: Fuel cell cars would still pollute with tire dust and
                  > lead poisoning from wheel weights, of course. Plus they'd
                  > still kill and injure people, cost lots of money, and prop
                  > up a Hellish transportation infrastructure based on sprawl.

                  yep, we need to not only work on improving the cars that are out there but
                  all the other things you mentioned.

                  cheers,
                  pt


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                • r walter
                  I just wanted to say as far as solar: When I said solar energy I should have said all renewable energy sources. Wind power ultimately comes from the sun,
                  Message 8 of 12 , May 1, 2003
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                    I just wanted to say as far as solar: When I said
                    "solar energy" I should have said "all renewable"
                    energy sources. Wind power ultimately comes from the
                    sun, and is non-polluting. You can make wind
                    generators without a lot of exotic elements.
                    Geothermal is the only "renewable" not having a solar
                    source.

                    All in all someone really argue that the resources
                    that go into making this equipment once, pollute more
                    than refilling up a fuel cell time and time again with
                    energy from a polluting source? Not to mention making
                    the fuel cell in the first place.

                    I think that the process of converting coal, or other
                    fossil fuels into fuel for fuel cells probably
                    pollutes more than just using gasoline. I'm saying
                    this because the process of converting coal to
                    electricity to hydrogen to power the fuel cell uses up
                    more energy in total than the energy you would get if
                    you just burned gasoline. You lose energy each time
                    you convert. So why are fuel cells better? It just
                    seems like a big farce - is there something I don't
                    get?

                    We've got about 300 years of coal left, I'd hate to
                    see all that go into the air. Coal is cheap,
                    alternative energy is not. I'm worried that the U.S.
                    will take the easy way out.

                    --- Wes Ballew <wes.ballew@...> wrote:
                    > How will the U.S. pay for streets, etc? What will be
                    > taxed? Will all roadways be paid for out of the
                    > general fund (I know it is something like 60% now)?
                    > Just curious.
                    >
                    > >>> bookofseg@... 04/30/03 08:57PM >>>
                    > Jym Dyer wrote:
                    > > =v= All absolutely true and worthy of
                    > consideration. Why just
                    > > shrug it off as something "you'll have people
                    > say?"
                    >
                    > i'm not shrugging it off at all. it's all about
                    > trade-offs. some folks look
                    > at those, some don't.
                    >
                    > > =v= Fuel cells have nice "tailpipe" emissions, but
                    > they require
                    > > other emissions. "Out of sight, out of mind" is
                    > hardly a sound
                    > > policy.
                    >
                    > i'm not a fuel cell fan for many reasons, that's
                    > certainly one of them.
                    >
                    >
                    > > P.S.: Fuel cell cars would still pollute with
                    > tire dust and
                    > > lead poisoning from wheel weights, of course.
                    > Plus they'd
                    > > still kill and injure people, cost lots of money,
                    > and prop
                    > > up a Hellish transportation infrastructure based
                    > on sprawl.
                    >
                    > yep, we need to not only work on improving the cars
                    > that are out there but
                    > all the other things you mentioned.
                    >
                    > cheers,
                    > pt
                    >
                    >
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                    >
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                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > To Post a message, send it to:
                    > carfree_cities@...
                    > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
                    > carfree_cities-unsubscribe@...
                    > Group address:
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                    >
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                    >
                    >


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                  • J.H. Crawford
                    ... It s crucial to do net-energy-gain calculations on this. When you do, it appears that the ethanol subsidies in the USA are simply causing petroleum to be
                    Message 9 of 12 , May 2, 2003
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                      r walter said:

                      >I just wanted to say as far as solar: When I said
                      >"solar energy" I should have said "all renewable"
                      >energy sources. Wind power ultimately comes from the
                      >sun, and is non-polluting. You can make wind
                      >generators without a lot of exotic elements.
                      >Geothermal is the only "renewable" not having a solar
                      >source.

                      It's crucial to do net-energy-gain calculations on this.
                      When you do, it appears that the ethanol subsidies in
                      the USA are simply causing petroleum to be converted into
                      ethanol (by farmers) with approximately zero net gain.
                      (Different studies give different results, with some
                      claiming modest gains and some seeing slight losses.)

                      >I think that the process of converting coal, or other
                      >fossil fuels into fuel for fuel cells probably
                      >pollutes more than just using gasoline. I'm saying
                      >this because the process of converting coal to
                      >electricity to hydrogen to power the fuel cell uses up
                      >more energy in total than the energy you would get if
                      >you just burned gasoline. You lose energy each time
                      >you convert. So why are fuel cells better? It just
                      >seems like a big farce - is there something I don't
                      >get?
                      >
                      >We've got about 300 years of coal left, I'd hate to
                      >see all that go into the air. Coal is cheap,
                      >alternative energy is not. I'm worried that the U.S.
                      >will take the easy way out.

                      Remember, this is the Bush game plan, not yet public.
                      You read it in an editorial at Carfree.com:

                      http://www.carfree.com/z_editorial_03a.html

                      Coal is the only way the USA can continue its profligate
                      energy consumption.

                      Regards,


                      ----------------------------------------------------------------------

                      Drop Bush
                      Not Bombs

                      -- ### --

                      J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
                      mailbox@... http://www.carfree.com
                    • phillip m. torrone
                      this reminded me of a new segment i just saw. out in nantucket r.f.k jr as well as walter cronkite are speaking up against wind power in their area, here are
                      Message 10 of 12 , May 2, 2003
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                        this reminded me of a new segment i just saw. out in nantucket r.f.k jr as
                        well as walter cronkite are speaking up against wind power in their area,
                        here are their reasons....

                        -might be harmful to migrating birds
                        -noise might be harmful to fish
                        -sailing / fishing might be suffer
                        -aesthetics

                        http://www.saveoursound.org

                        the last one, aesthetics was brought up by the advocates for wind power,
                        they say the wealthy folks don't want to "spoil their view" of the nantucket
                        sound which could lower their property values.

                        ...all interesting stuff to read about.

                        cheers,
                        pt

                        r walter wrote:
                        > I just wanted to say as far as solar: When I said
                        > "solar energy" I should have said "all renewable"
                        > energy sources. Wind power ultimately comes from the
                        > sun, and is non-polluting. You can make wind
                        > generators without a lot of exotic elements.
                        > Geothermal is the only "renewable" not having a solar
                        > source.
                      • J.H. Crawford
                        ... I get pretty upset with people claiming to be green who trash every possible replacement for fossil fuel without offering any other plan. I believe that
                        Message 11 of 12 , May 3, 2003
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                          phillip m. torrone said:

                          >this reminded me of a new segment i just saw. out in nantucket r.f.k jr as
                          >well as walter cronkite are speaking up against wind power in their area,
                          >here are their reasons....
                          >
                          >-might be harmful to migrating birds
                          >-noise might be harmful to fish
                          >-sailing / fishing might be suffer
                          >-aesthetics
                          >
                          >http://www.saveoursound.org
                          >
                          >the last one, aesthetics was brought up by the advocates for wind power,
                          >they say the wealthy folks don't want to "spoil their view" of the nantucket
                          >sound which could lower their property values.

                          I get pretty upset with people claiming to be green who trash
                          every possible replacement for fossil fuel without offering any
                          other plan. I believe that electricity on Nantucket is still
                          generated by large diesel-powered generators, which are about
                          the worst way to generate power, saving aside coal-fired plants.
                          (They're also quite noisy.)

                          So, if no windmills are to be allowed in an area that's suited for
                          them (high average wind speeds), what then?

                          Regards,


                          ----------------------------------------------------------------------

                          Drop Bush
                          Not Bombs

                          -- ### --

                          J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
                          mailbox@... http://www.carfree.com
                        • Matt Hohmeister
                          I would not at all be surprised if the same people who despise wind farms for aesthetic and environmental reasons will also insist on driving their car
                          Message 12 of 12 , May 3, 2003
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                            I would not at all be surprised if the same people who despise wind
                            farms for aesthetic and environmental reasons will also insist on
                            driving their car everywhere, demand multilane eyesores to handle the
                            traffic, and will stop any attempts to close streets, implement
                            traffic calming, or introduce any form of mass transit.

                            I rank these wind farm opponents up with the the folks who claim that
                            we need huge, wide roads [with no traffic calming, of course] right up
                            to every building for fire truck access, yet scream bloody murder when
                            they get a $100 violation for blocking the fire lane.

                            > I get pretty upset with people claiming to be green who trash
                            > every possible replacement for fossil fuel without offering any
                            > other plan. I believe that electricity on Nantucket is still
                            > generated by large diesel-powered generators, which are about
                            > the worst way to generate power, saving aside coal-fired plants.
                            > (They're also quite noisy.)
                            >
                            > So, if no windmills are to be allowed in an area that's suited for
                            > them (high average wind speeds), what then?
                            >
                            > Regards,
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