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OfflineEllis Dee
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Hyping Hydrogen: The Energy Scam
    #1528583 - 05/07/03 09:04 PM (13 years, 6 months ago)

http://www.cnsnews.com/ViewCommentary.asp?Page=\Commentary\archive\200305\COM20030507b.html


CNSNEWS ^ | May 07, 2003 | Alan Caruba


Not long ago I wrote a commentary, "The Great Hydrogen Myth," in which I opined that throwing another billion dollars at more research for the purpose of replacing oil, coal, or natural gas was a huge waste. Recently, that commentary was posted on an Internet site for those who work in industries that provide and use various forms of energy. It's a favorite among the many engineers and scientists whose lives are devoted to energy issues.

Here are some of the responses my commentary received. The names of the innocent have been protected because their jobs depend upon it.

"I have often thought that this 'hydrogen economy' seems intuitively flawed; using energy to make hydrogen to then be used as an energy source. Intuitively, it feels like the Escher painting with the water flowing uphill."

Therein lies central issue that undermines the hype about hydrogen as an endless, virtually free, source of energy. First of all, it is not energy. It is what the engineers and scientists call "a carrier." You have to break the hydrogen molecule free from others to use it and that requires energy. Thus, you have to use a lot of energy in order to use hydrogen to make energy. In real life there is no free lunch.

A chemical engineer with 35 years in the chemical and oil industry who knows a lot about catalytic reforming units that make and use hydrogen in the reformation processes, had this to say: "Not only does H2 (hydrogen) require a lot of energy to produce, collect, and store, it presents rather nasty safety problems."

Need it be said he thinks that Ethanol (made from corn!) is another bad idea the environmentalists have foisted on us? Why? "Ethanol costs far more to produce than the fuel value it provides and the Environmental Protection Agency in its wisdom forced industry to oxygenate fuels only to discover that covalent bonds of all oxygenates are very soluble and stable in ground waters when released." In other words, this environmental "solution" has led to the poisoning of ground water supplies throughout the nation. It also forces up the cost of gasoline.

He wasn't through. "While I'm at it - Greens have our environmental experts at EPA on another even wilder goose chase to capture mercury from coal fired utility plants across the USA. If you add up all the Hg (mercury) released from coal combustion and compare it to global sources, the current analytical and statistical techniques and technologies probably will not be able to detect any reduction in the global Hq pool in the environment."

Thank you, thank you, thank you! The Greens live to conjure up endless scare campaigns, always shouting that everyone, especially children, are being "poisoned" by things that pose no real threat. Or they find ways to force government mandates that either end up poisoning us, i.e., ethanol, are represent no real threat, i.e., mercury. The end result is higher costs for energy use of any kind.

Part of the hydrogen hype is its use in fuel cells. A retired General Electric engineer wrote to say, "I previously analyzed and designed fuel cells and it is apparent to me that they will always be too expensive for all but very special uses. They are twenty times the cost of a piston engine and are very likely to remain at least ten times more in spite of all the research done."

Like all realists, engineers and scientists believe we are, in fact, running a risk in our dependence on petroleum. Even with a trillion and maybe even two trillion barrels of oil available, at the present rate of use, the experts estimate we will go through it in about forty years. Others, however, believe there are vast amounts of undiscovered oil reserves.

Part of the problem of energy costs, energy dependency, and the cost of oil can be found in the fact that the US has experienced a drop in its refining capability over the past twenty years. We went from being able to refine 18.5 million barrels to 16.5 million barrels. There has been an even sharper drop in the number of refineries, from 315 to 155! Thus, the US is highly vulnerable if even a small number of refineries stopped producing, even temporarily. A major factor for the dramatic increase in oil prices is this lack of refining capacity.

This may explain why the oil industry and auto manufacturers are willing to spend billions to find a way to make hydrogen the transportation energy of the future. Hybrid vehicles that utilize a fuel cell could get more than 75 miles per gallon of gasoline and that's a good thing. Environmentalists support this and, if the technology can be developed to a point of being affordable, why not? It remains, however, a very big "if".

The real answer, of course, is to build more refineries and, in part, to tap the reserves of oil known to exist in the Alaskan National Wilderness Reserve. Environmentalists have fought both these options.

Here's the bottom line. Without energy, this nation shuts down, and so do all the others. The good news is that technologies are being developed whereby, for transportation and other uses, new engines will revolutionize the use of current energy sources. They will be far more efficient and they will be affordable.

Beware of the hype about hydrogen. Many engineers and scientists know it's baloney, and you should too.


--------------------
"If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do."-King Solomon

And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,


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OfflineBaby_Hitler
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Re: Hyping Hydrogen: The Energy Scam [Re: Ellis Dee]
    #1528890 - 05/07/03 10:45 PM (13 years, 6 months ago)

>>>tap the reserves of oil known to exist in the Alaskan National Wilderness Reserve<<<

That'll buy us about 3 years.


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Offlineblaze2
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Re: Hyping Hydrogen: The Energy Scam [Re: Baby_Hitler]
    #1529963 - 05/08/03 05:49 AM (13 years, 6 months ago)

and it would fuck up their ecosystem up there thats already doing bad cause of global warming. did you know that polar bears are expected to be extinct in 100 yrs if global warming continues. they dig dens in the perma-frost and its slowly becoming un perma-frosted. not very cool if you ask me. peace

blaze2


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"peace is not maintained through force it is acheived through intelligence." Albert Einstein

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OfflineBaby_Hitler
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Re: Hyping Hydrogen: The Energy Scam [Re: blaze2]
    #1531619 - 05/08/03 06:49 PM (13 years, 6 months ago)

I don't believe in global warming. At least not man-made global warming.


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OfflineSeussA
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Re: Hyping Hydrogen: The Energy Scam [Re: Ellis Dee]
    #1531695 - 05/08/03 07:18 PM (13 years, 6 months ago)

Quote:

Part of the hydrogen hype is its use in fuel cells. A retired General Electric engineer wrote to say, "I previously analyzed and designed fuel cells and it is apparent to me that they will always be too expensive for all but very special uses. They are twenty times the cost of a piston engine and are very likely to remain at least ten times more in spite of all the research done."




This is bunk. The guy is an engineer, not an economist. He should stick with designing and not worry about projecting profits or analyzing supply and demand. I read a very similiar quote about aluminum production from a guy that worked in the iron/steel industry in the early 1900's. If/when the demand for fuel cells ever becomes large enough, the prices will drop.

Why focus only on hydrogen based fuel cells? There are other, better, hybrid alternative energy solutions which do not use hydrogen.


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Offlinepseudopod
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Re: Hyping Hydrogen: The Energy Scam [Re: Seuss]
    #1533606 - 05/09/03 05:44 AM (13 years, 6 months ago)



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Offlinebluesky
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Re: Hyping Hydrogen: The Energy Scam [Re: Ellis Dee]
    #1534093 - 05/09/03 11:00 AM (13 years, 6 months ago)

Why in the HELL do people not take hemp fuel seriously?! This could possibly save our asses.


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You're my blue sky, you're my sunny day,
Lord you know it makes me high when you turn your love my way. Turn your love my waaaaaay, Yea.
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OfflineAnnoA
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Re: Hyping Hydrogen: The Energy Scam [Re: bluesky]
    #1534120 - 05/09/03 11:09 AM (13 years, 6 months ago)

hemp cars?


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OfflineEllis Dee
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Re: Hyping Hydrogen: The Energy Scam [Re: Anno]
    #1535022 - 05/09/03 05:01 PM (13 years, 6 months ago)

Quote:

hemp cars?



I saw one o those in a cheech and chong movie. The whole car was made of reefer and they drove it right across the mexican border while some old ladies whose car they threw a joint in got busted. LMAO.


--------------------
"If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do."-King Solomon

And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,


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OfflineSeussA
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Re: Hyping Hydrogen: The Energy Scam [Re: Anno]
    #1535323 - 05/09/03 07:00 PM (13 years, 6 months ago)

Quote:

hemp cars? 




It will never work... I would be smoking mine instead of driving...  which I am sure would lead to all sorts of problems... :smile:


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OfflineExtravagantDream
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Re: Hyping Hydrogen: The Energy Scam [Re: Seuss]
    #1536421 - 05/10/03 05:24 AM (13 years, 6 months ago)

Eventually, we are gonna run out.. might be in fourty years, might be much longer. But we WILL run out and we are polluting our planet. Hydrogen fuel cells are ment to cary energy and be used like batteries. The ways of producing hydrogen cost more energy then it will give back, but it can be transported well without causing any side effects. Yes, it's not entirely safe but really not more so than fossil fuels. Also, it can easily be created by by using water, air, and the sun (which I predict we will eventually use more and more). Plus they are using algae to seperate the hydrogen from oxygen. I'm not sure how well it works, but it seems like a good alternative.

Seuss.. Hemp cannot be smoked!


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OfflineBaby_Hitler
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Re: Hyping Hydrogen: The Energy Scam [Re: ExtravagantDream]
    #1536489 - 05/10/03 07:16 AM (13 years, 6 months ago)

Besides, soy is a better source of fuel than hemp.


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Invisiblebert
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Re: Hyping Hydrogen: The Energy Scam [Re: Baby_Hitler]
    #1536549 - 05/10/03 08:30 AM (13 years, 6 months ago)

I want a car fueled solely by bad hippy ideas and hope.


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Offlinepseudopod
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Re: Hyping Hydrogen: The Energy Scam [Re: bert]
    #1537075 - 05/10/03 03:39 PM (13 years, 6 months ago)

I don't have much use for a hydrogen powered car, but I'd love to take my house off the grid one day. I'm surprised the conservatives are so quick to put their spin on this. Seems like any technology that led to an increase in self sufficiency, competition and freedom would be right up their ally. Tired of the recession? Watch what happens when somebody figures this out. The dotcom boom will be forgotten in the wake.


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OfflineBaby_Hitler
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Re: Hyping Hydrogen: The Energy Scam [Re: bert]
    #1537229 - 05/10/03 05:18 PM (13 years, 6 months ago)

Soy is, like, totally hippie man.


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OfflineSeussA
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Re: Hyping Hydrogen: The Energy Scam [Re: ExtravagantDream]
    #1537682 - 05/10/03 09:12 PM (13 years, 6 months ago)

Quote:

Seuss.. Hemp cannot be smoked! 




It can be smoked, but there is no point.  Very little, if any, THC and a whole lot of harshness.  :smile:

I should be more careful about spreading misinformation; I meant it as a joke on what anno posted, but I can see how the comment could be misunderstood.
 


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OfflineSeussA
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Re: Hyping Hydrogen: The Energy Scam [Re: pseudopod]
    #1537694 - 05/10/03 09:16 PM (13 years, 6 months ago)

Quote:

I'd love to take my house off the grid one day.




The energy companies have too much pull in the industrialized world for alternative energy to get a foothold. It will much more likely find its footing in 3rd world countries, and then migrate to the rest of the world. Cell phones are a good example of this happening.


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OfflineEllis Dee
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Re: Hyping Hydrogen: The Energy Scam [Re: Seuss]
    #1538048 - 05/11/03 12:11 AM (13 years, 6 months ago)

Quote:

Quote:

I'd love to take my house off the grid one day.




The energy companies have too much pull in the industrialized world for alternative energy to get a foothold. It will much more likely find its footing in 3rd world countries, and then migrate to the rest of the world. Cell phones are a good example of this happening.



Cell phones didn't migrate to the west from third world countries.


--------------------
"If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do."-King Solomon

And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,


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Offlinepseudopod
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Re: Hyping Hydrogen: The Energy Scam [Re: Seuss]
    #1538542 - 05/11/03 05:08 AM (13 years, 6 months ago)

I do agree with part of your premise though. Alternative fuels do well in environments that are either rich in alternative energy resources or where it is otherwise difficult to obtain traditional fuel. I doubt they will be developed there though. I'm as much of an opponent to big business as the next guy, but I don't see that argument holding much water. Most of the big auto manufacturers are investing real money into this technology. The two main bottlenecks are supply (the efficiency problem) and distribution.There just isn't the infrastructure like there is with gas. You can't just go to the fuel pump and get a few hydrogen cells (yet). But if you look at the ammount of money that British Petroleum is investing in research (not to mention their new branding and strategy), I think you'll find that big business is on board with this one. Even if they weren't, we have a very large academic research community that is very interested as well.


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OfflineAnnoA
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Re: Hyping Hydrogen: The Energy Scam [Re: Ellis Dee]
    #1540836 - 05/12/03 04:12 AM (13 years, 6 months ago)

A good link for some energy statistics:
http://www.bp.com/centres/energy2002/


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