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"Hydrogen economy" = oil companies conspiracy?

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posted on Aug, 30 2005 @ 05:29 AM
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What do you think about this? The so called "hydrogen economy" and hydrogen fuell cells are promoted in the world as the future means to save the world from the dependence of oil and to make enviroment cleaner and more suitable to live. However there are some flaws in this proposal.

1. Many people think the hydrogen is power source like oil, but this it not true. There is almost none uncombined hydrogen(usable as energy source) on Earth. The Hydrogen is energy carrier like batteries.

2. The cost of producing hydrogen is higher than alternatives (syntetic oil and such).

3. The hudrogen is very dangerous and difficult to store. It is smallest molecule and it can leak from the most tightly enclosed storage containers. It is also very explosive when mixed with air. Yes, you can argue that gasoline is explosive too ,but gasoline is liquid, while hydrogen is gas. It cannot be liquified only if freezed to extremely low temperature (hundreds under zero). I cannot even imagine how could the hydrogen be stored in large quantities. There is a posibility to use methanol in fuel cells, but it's still more expensive and ineffective to manufacture. It is also very dangerous poison and the methanol fuel cells produce CO2.

4. The efficiency of hydrogen production is very low. Basically the best ways to produce it is from natural gas or water. The gas is not renewable source so it's really not the solution. The electrolysis is very ineficient. Some people sugested that the nuclear plants would produce the hydrogen to store the energy which I find somwhat stupid. The round-trip-efficiency (electricity to hydrogen and hydrogen to electricity) is extremely low - only 40%. For example normal batteries have 90% percent round trip efficiency. Of course you can argue that chemical batteries are expensive and inefficient to manufacture but there are also other types of batteries like flying wheel for example (magnetically suspended rotating wheel to store the kinetic energy -cheap, envirmont friendly and efficient). IMHO in 10-15 years when hydrogen economy should take place the batteries would be much more efficient for energy storage than hydrogen.

So why do you think is such ineffient technology so promoted today (also by some prominent figures with ties to oil industry like Bush)? It's because in fact the hydrogen economy cannot harm oil industry and "oil economy". It is so infficient that it will only bring more profits for oil industry (something must be burn to gain hydrogen and with only 40% energy efficiency the profits could be doubled). It could also a decoy for the people to lure them away from other rmore potential options. So I think it is entirely possible that oil industry is actively supporting the hydrogen economy bogus.




posted on Aug, 30 2005 @ 05:52 AM
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I agree with every point you have made. Most people do not know that Hydrogen is not some magic solution to petroleum, however there are two advantages I can think of as being the reason the big push towards it is happening.

First, it is somewhat feasable as a fuel for cars, which means the auto industry can continue for a long while using conventional technology as it pertains to internal combustion engines. In fact a lot of things can be engineered to run on Hydrogen. Notwithstanding hyrbid fuel celled cars, eventually we will have Hydrogen as a motor fuel.

Second, is that even though it requires more energy to extract Hydrogen by electrolysis or the steam/natural gas method, I believe they will eventually open the doors for building and using more nuclear plants to generate energy to do this, instead of using coal or gas plants. This will free up our dependency on fossil fuels quite a bit, but will not reduce our fuel costs.

They may be touting Hydrogen as something it isn't, but they can guarantee our future transportation needs can be met and eleminate a lot of
oil dependency by building nuclear plants providing energy to hydrogen extraction plants. Also, it is entirely true that hydrogen burns clean, so that would be a plus for the environment. I think they are reaching quite a bit right now for a solution, and it is probably the best alternative we have right now with our technology so far as a viable production means.

[edit on 30-8-2005 by ben91069]



posted on Aug, 30 2005 @ 09:31 AM
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Originally posted by ben91069
First, it is somewhat feasable as a fuel for cars, which means the auto industry can continue for a long while using conventional technology as it pertains to internal combustion engines. In fact a lot of things can be engineered to run on Hydrogen. Notwithstanding hyrbid fuel celled cars, eventually we will have Hydrogen as a motor fuel.

Second, is that even though it requires more energy to extract Hydrogen by electrolysis or the steam/natural gas method, I believe they will eventually open the doors for building and using more nuclear plants to generate energy to do this, instead of using coal or gas plants.


Making the hydrogen in nuclear plants (or as proposed in solar plants too) could work, but the problem is it is, as I said it's not efficient enough. 40% is simply too low compared to battery. IMHO much better solution would be to make pure electric cars with batteries and charge them directly from the grid. It would be much more effective than hydrogen storage as instead of 60% of energy lost you will loose only 10%. The batteries could be also make smalle than power cells, because power cell needs certain amount of hydrogen which takes space. Also it would be safer, because batteries don't explode like hydrogen.



 
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