Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Hydrogen Powered Vehicles: Where is the Hydrogen Economy?

Only the vast untapped potential of the great rivers that flow into Hudsons Bay can produce enough hydrogen fuel to make it affordable and sustainable.

The capacity to mass produce hydrogen powered vehicles and the fuel required to run them has been available for many years, yet industry experts still estimate that the technology is 10 to 20 years away from being a mainstream fuel supply. This is not due to a lack of experience by manufacturers in the production of Hydrogen fuel cells, or vehicles that run on them.

The first Hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicle was built in the 1960s by General Motors in the United States. Hydrogen fuel cells were also used in space by NASA in the 1960s. Given the impressive pedigree and early development of this fuel, why is it not yet a commercial reality?
The facts are that Hydrogen is a very dangerous substance,* not as dangerous as gasoline and these dangers are present not just at the consumer end but all the way through production, transportation and storage * similar risk to natural gas. A tank of pressurized Hydrogen in many ways the same as a time bomb* no its not - the left really hates the possiblity of increased personal autonomy - public control would decrease - oh no!. Any damage to the structure of the vessel containing the Hydrogen could result in a powerful explosion,* this is scaremongering at its worst - please don't drop kick your propane tank. even from relatively small tanks like those that would be fitted to automobiles.
There is also the issue of using electricity to produce Hydrogen in the first place. This itself is quite energy intensive and involves losses of energy at each stage of transformation from one form to another, such as when electrical energy is converted into chemical energy to form the Hydrogen molecules.* On site Hydro-generation of hydrogen fuel is the only effective answer.  Even if this electricity was generated from clean sources such as solar panels, it could be used directly to charge batteries* sorry swampy but battery technology just isnt there yet and they are very dirty to produce. or supply a grid with greater efficiency than for producing Hydrogen* I suspect these guys worked for the CRU - best to check out their claims. Read more.

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