posted on Sep, 21 2004 @ 04:35 PM
I think we need to understand two often-overlooked, but very important considerations, when we're talking about the "hydrogen economy".
1. Hydrogen costs a lot. Forget the business about how hydrogen is the most common element in the Universe and that water is half hydrogen.
Turning that hydrogen locked up in water into pure, compressed hydrogen that can run, say, fuel cells costs a lot of electricity. As a matter of
fact, kilowatt for kilowatt, it costs more to generate with hydrogen than it does with oil.
2. Fuel Cells are not an energy source anymore than rechargeable batteries are. Given unpleasant facts of life like the conservation of mass
and energy, it costs more electricity to make the hydrogen for the fuel cell than the fuel cell will produce -- and it always will.
So all this stuff about hydrogen and fuel cells doesn't make any sense until you realize that the real problem is figuring out how to come up
with the electricity needed to extract, purify, pressurize, contain, and ship the hydrogen before you can use it. And burning oil or coal to run the
electrical generators to provide the electricity to make the hydrogen for the fuel cells doesn't get us away from all the Bad Things about burning
hydrocarbons, which is that we're running out of it, most of it is owned by Bad Guys, and it is poisoning the planet.
Since we can't very well put a nuclear reactor in everyone's car or house, perhaps the idea of using nuclear power to extract hydrogen for
automotive use makes sense, but Bush's idea of burning hydrocarbons, in my opinion, misses the whole point.