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Ballyhooed hydrogen fuel cells may have environmental drawback

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posted on Jun, 12 2003 @ 05:38 PM
For the record: I believe this to be propaganda by the oil industry in order to quash alternative fuel/energy systems. One little fact that they are overlook here is that while hydrogen is in fact lighter than air IT WILL READILY OXIDIZE IN CONTACT WITH OXYGEN!!!!!! Any leaks will likely NOT make it to the stratosphere, but will react to form water vapor at the point of leak.

Anyway, here is the article.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Widespread use of the hydrogen fuel cells that President Bush has made a centerpiece of his energy plan might not be as environmentally friendly as many believe.

Scientists say the new technology could lead to greater destruction of the ozone layer that protects Earth from cancer-causing ultraviolet rays.

Researchers issued a report Thursday saying that if hydrogen replaced fossil fuels to run everything from cars to power plants, large amounts of hydrogen would drift into the stratosphere as a result of leakage and indirectly cause increased depletion of the ozone.

They acknowledged that much is still unknown about the hydrogen cycle and that technologies could be developed to curtail hydrogen releases, mitigating the problem. But they say hydrogen's impact on ozone destruction should be considered when gauging the potential environmental downside of a hydrogen-fuel economy.

posted on Jun, 12 2003 @ 07:46 PM
Considering the idea of a hydrogen fuel cell has been around for nearly a century it sure hasn't progressed much. It is what I like to call a "3-5 year technology." Every 3-5 years someone else comes out claiming that it will be in daily use in another 3-5 years. I'm still waiting for this to happen...

The hydrogen fuel cell has no future in America. Bush's plan to research it was just a ploy to look good to tree huggers in an attempt to get some of them to vote for him again... This in the face of a whole host of anti-environmental laws aimed at making big business more money.

There are three main reasons a fuel cell won't work...

1. There is no infastructure in place to carry hydrogen in this country. Not only would stations have to be built but gas lines would have to be run.

2. It takes very refined and pure hydrogen to work. This requires a lot of power. As a result emmissions saved on the road could more than be made up at power plants (such as coal). So it really wouldn't solve anything, it would just spread pollution some where else.

3. Fuel cells are very expensive to make. They contain rare metals such as Platnum. The cost of a fuel cell would be astronomical even if mass produced. This doesn't even take into account the redesign, retooling costs of the auto makers.

The key to cleaner fuels can be found from two sources... Biodiesel for diesel powered vehicles and natural gas for gasoline buring vehicles. Both of those alternative fuels can be be used currently with very little modification to current engines or infastructure.

We run Biodiesel in our hybrid, Viking 23, here at Western Washington University VRI.

Viking 23

Biodiesel Info

Natural Gas Info

[Edited on 13-6-2003 by tacitblue]

posted on Jun, 13 2003 @ 06:05 PM
Actually, I heard an NPR interview on this which went into a bit more detail. The data was troubling but interesting and as the researcher suggested, more study needs to be done before dumping new stuff into the atmosphere.

..and Blue makes some excellent arguments. Now that you mention it, I do hear the "3-5 year" scenario frequently.

[Edited on 13-6-2003 by Byrd]

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