Wednesday, January 23, 2008

hydrogen: not the vehicle fuel of the future

In our deep love affair with the motor car, we're desperate for a quick-fix low carbon alternative fuel that lets us carry on.

The EU and the Bush administration are both putting billions of dollars into the possibility of hydrogen as a vehicle fuel.

Not only are there economic, engineering and safety issues that can't be surmounted in time to make it a climate mitigation technology, it wouldn't work anyway. Hydrogen is most commonly made from fossil fuels; it is as much a refined fossil product as petrol. The present prototype hydrogen cars are far worse emitters than the thirstiest filthiest SUV.

It can be made by passing electricity through water, but where's that electricity coming from? fossil power stations? Or some new renewables?

To make enough hydrogen to replace our vehicle fuels would take more electricity than we currently use for everything combined. Can anyone really tell me we can shut down the fossils and build enough renewables to double our output before runaway climate change kicks in?

I've just done a pretty darn long article taking the whole notion apart. It's published over at U-Know under the title Hydrogen: Not the Vehicle Fuel of the Future

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