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In a recent study, fuel cell expert Ulf Bossel explains that a hydrogen economy is a wasteful economy. The large amount of energy required to isolate hydrogen from natural compounds (water, natural gas, biomass), package the light gas by compression or liquefaction, transfer the energy carrier to the user, plus the energy lost when it is converted to useful electricity with fuel cells, leaves around 25% for practical use — an unacceptable value to run an economy in a sustainable future. Only niche applications like submarines and spacecraft might use hydrogen.
“There is a lot of money in the field now,” he continues. “I think that it was a mistake to start with a ‘Presidential Initiative’ rather with a thorough analysis like this one. Huge sums of money were committed too soon, and now even good scientists prostitute themselves to obtain research money for their students or laboratories—otherwise, they risk being fired. But the laws of physics are eternal and cannot be changed with additional research, venture capital or majority votes.”
“The two key issues of a secure and sustainable energy future are harvesting energy from renewable sources and finding the highest energy efficiency from source to service,” he says. “Among these possibilities, biomethane [which is already being used to fuel cars in some areas] is an important, but only limited part of the energy equation. Electricity from renewable sources will play the dominant role.”
Originally posted by Beachcoma
By diesels I mean the whole family, with biodiesels making up the bulk of it. It's the cheaper way in terms of infrastructure as well as cost. Infrastructure because you don't really need any new facilities or engines -- the current ones can work as is without modifications. Cheap on the whole because modern diesel engines are much more fuel efficient that regular petrol engines. Plus they could also run on a mixture of 15% diesel and 85% ethanol.
Electric vehicles will probably become very common within cities, for commutes to work, sending kids to school and such. But I think for long trips across state lines, diesel engines will do most of the work. Purely electric vehicles wouldn't have the stamina.
A hybrid biodiesel-electric vehicle would be the best.
As for the fact that converting hydrogen is wasteful, we already have answers to that. The data you have seems to be out of date.