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2495RE: [hreg] Hydrogen Economy

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    Apr 20, 2004
      That's not silly at all.  I think it's a damn good idea.
      -----Original Message-----
      From: Roxanne Boyer [mailto:rox1@...]
      Sent: Monday, April 19, 2004 8:39 PM
      To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [hreg] Hydrogen Economy

      I have long thought that hydrogen is not the right energy carrier for either transportation or stationary uses (which account for most of our energy use).  There are articles in the recent issues of Renewable Energy World and Scientific American that question the logic of hydrogen as an energy carrier and blast politicians who are doling our money for the hydrogen economy.  Finally, some clear headed scientists are stepping forward!
      Here are some points:
      1)  The most efficient and inexpensive way to make hydrogen is from fossil fuels.  If you are going to burn the fossil fuel to make hydrogen, you might as well burn it in an internal combustion engine directly.
      2)  If you have electricity to make hydrogen by electrolysis, you might as well use the electricity directly.
      3)  A hydrogen pipeline costs many more times that of an electric grid.
      4)  Liquid fuels are much cheaper to distribute and store in tanks than hydrogen. 
      Hydrogen does have a place.  It's benefits are that it is light and burns "clean".  It only makes sense to use in places where these requirements are absolutely necessary, such as in aerospace, submarines, and underground mines.
      Why would politicians support the hydrogen economy?  I don't know, but here are some guesses.  1)  A "future" solution prevents them from having to implement current solutions and yet they can still call themselves environmental.  2) Refineries need more hydrogen to clean up our fuels and they need a way to make hydrogen.  Most of the "hydrogen" research is funding reformers, which convert fossil fuels into hydrogen.  Thus, politicians fund gasoline and diesel (keeping prices low), yet appear environmental.  3)  People needing research grants (universities, national labs, small business research companies) have waved their hands around, jumped on the band wagon and fooled the politicians.
      Wind and solar can provide electric energy directly.  Transportation fuels can be "renewable" liquids such as methanol, ethanol, DME, biodiesel and others. 
      {OK, now I am getting sort of silly, but still have a point}  What about muscle power?  It make no sense for people to drive short distances in cars and then go spend an hour in the gym wasting human power.  Think about all those people who jog around in circles, wasting energy.  Maybe the federal committee in charge of figuring out how to reduce obesity in the US should team with environmentalists and pay children to ride their bikes to school.  They pay farmers not to grow crops - can they pay employees not to drive cars.  Have fun with the thoughts

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