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Thread: : Al Gore - A Generational Challenge to Repower America
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> You should get a copy of Skeptic magazine Vol.14 No.1 2008
> and read the
> article "The Hydrogen Economy" by Alice Friedemann. The
> article explains in
> very stark terms what is wrong with hydrogen.

Most of the statements made below are a result of a
misundertsanding, genuine or contrived, on the part of the
Substitute the word "battery" in most cases and the
obviousness of the statements will become true. Perhaps
reword somewhat for the technology in use.

> The author states that
> increasing the average overall fuel economy of vehicles
> would be the best
> place to spend our money.

That involves using up petroleum. Yes, there is quite a lot
left. So what? It is a valuable resource that has many uses
apart from powering vehicles.

A problem with the invisible hand (also seen as an
advantage) is that it is blind to all but the advantage of
the moment. It has no interest in your children's children,
or even or your children, OR even in you if you do not by
your actions influence the profitiability of its actions. If
YOU (and your component of the invisible hand) care about
your children's children or even about other people's
childrens children, then you can influence current actions
of others by making these distant people part of the
equation by your action. This is an entirely valid part of
the actions of "the hand". It has no morals, no eyes and no
brains per se. It is the sum total of "interested action"
and no part of that action is more or less "valid" than any
other - just more or less effective. Those who seek to make
profit from utilising the fading dregs of the earth's oil
reserves (or the bouneous magnificence of its vast remaining
supplies)(choose your perspective) can have no complaint
about bleeding heart greens / magnificent eco-warriors
(choose your perspective) who seek to alter their path. (It
is of course none of their business/their right to care) BUT
the would be users they can seek to elnist the vested self
interest of others / plain common sense to attempt to
influence the path.

So, anyone who says "would be the best place ..." needs to
have their assumption set (and their undestanding of the
technical issues) visible for their opionion to be able to
be judged. It's clear from the short quote that Alice F'
does not have an adequate technical understanding of her

> Here is part of the conclusion section:
> "The laws of physics mean the hydrogen economy will always
> be an energy
> sink.

Of course. Would you expect net energy out of eg a car
battery (lead acid . NimH/LiIon) ?

> Hydrogen's properties require you to spend more energy
> than you can
> earn,

Of course. It's an energy transpirt medium. For Alice to
argue this several times over makes it seem that she is
trying to con stupid people, or mislead ignorant people.

> because in order to get it you must overcome water's
> hydrogen-oxygen
> bond,

It's usually called "charging the battery".
ALL secondary batteries have this propery.
Primary batteries are not of relevance here.

> move heavy cars,

If she really wrote that then she is indeed a con artist.
Why not write 'move heavy trucks", or trains or ocean
liners. Moving whatever is the object of the exercise. Why
is eg petrol better at moving "heavy cars".

>prevent leaks and brittle metals,

Very true. Those are two of the major challenges of Hydrogen
energy transport engineering. That's well known. Listing the
engineering challenges is fine. But itemising them in a
summary along with "'move heavy cars" is less satisfactory.

> and transport  hydrogen to the destination.

And? This is about a portable energy transportation medium.
It has to be got to where people transport it. Hydrogen,
unlike eg petroleum, can have its energy "inserted" at
whatever location makes bests ense. This can be at eg
Boulder dam, where the electricity used travels avery short
distance by wire and a long way by tanker or pipeline, at eg
Tucson where the sublight converter (PV, thermal, algae,
...) delivers Hydrogen to said tanker and pipeline near
source, Baja where wave action ..., OR near LA, NY, Cape
Cod, ... where EHV power lines have carried the energy
hundreds or thousands of miles from source, or a short
distance from a fission plant, or a fusion plant, or a hydro
plant, or a COAl (agh :-) ) plant or ... Unlike petroleum,
which is tankered etc all the way from kuwait, or Texas, or
Venezuela or ... Hydrogen can, if we develop the technology
to suit, be produced at whatever location. It's a new type
of battery. A hydrogen battery. It has issues. It's
imperfect. If there was an obviously better one the hand
would find it (or will). If using up oil is cheaper the hand
will try to do that instead. Whether it's Hydrogen or the
rest of the oil is more a matter of what value we all on
average place on the oil long term than what is technically

I think that even the choir may have left by now.

> It doesn't matter if all of these problems are
> solved, or how much money is spent. You will use more
> energy to create,
> store, and transport hydrogen than you will ever get out
> of it."

There she goes again / still !!!!
It's a battery. A BATTERY.
It's not meant to be an energy source. It's a way of
providing portable energy. Look at it in those terms and
start again.


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