More on H2 "Economy"

Michael Butler (
Thu, 11 Sep 1997 16:58:33 -0700 (PDT)

>From one of my favorite "bad boys" / contrarians, Don Lancaster:

You'll need Acrobat Reader 3.0 to read it.

Don makes the obvious-once-you-see-it point that with today's technology,
hydrogen is just a way of moving pollution, not eliminating it. Further,

"_No non-nuclear means is currently known to generate hydrogen that can
deliver more in energy BTU's than it consumes!_ [emphasis his] Thus....
[it] can only raise your cost of energy."

Lancaster also makes the point that if it takes ten gallons of gasoline to
farm plants that you can turn into six gallons of pure grain alcohol,
you're still *really* on the losing end of the stick. (smacks forehead)

Indirect costs once again bite us in the behind--those Carboniferous
swamps and the sunshine that fell on them and all that time Gaia spent
squeezing the resulting compost still turn out to provide _us_, right now,
with a BTU profit even after we extract and refine. Yes, this is living
off the principal. No, one can't do it forever. But Gaia wasn't doing a
whole lot with it...

So it looks as if (maybe) the best we can do overall might be to crack
hydrocarbons all the way down to methane, then use a fuel cell on _that_
and accept some resulting CO2. Finding a cheap catalyst for the fuel cells
is still a holy grail.

Don points out some other gotchas, too. And some interesting but
unconfirmed work on nanotubule storage of hydrogen. Worth the read.
Joe-Mike says check it out.