Hydrogen Highway to Hell

Have you ever thought about having water come out of your car instead of terrible CO2 gases? Sounds like a great plan until you look at the reality of what needs to be done in order to get that hydrogen into your car… So by buying a hydrogen car, who are you really helping? Yourself? Government? Environment? Corporations?

The answer to this amazing question is unfortunately quite simple, it is again another marketing technique to try and approach the suddenly ‘conscious’ and environmentally friendly consumer that is now trying to look into reducing their CO2 footprint on mother earth. The increased profit margin for this premium product goes nowhere else but into the pockets of the producers of these cars.

You yourself do not gain simply because the price of a hybrid car, where most people would not exactly like to shell out $100,000 for having your pickup converted to run on hydrogen. But be sure to get one once you’ve brought home your next million dollar paycheck, as it may improve your image amount your social circle of elites when you roar by withing showing any signs of polluting the environment. The story about the actual milage which you get/L won’t even be started… Oh yes, and talk about refueling every 120km, with the one in a million hydrogen fuel stations that are out there.

The next question of the hydrogen fuel comes up with the government subsidies which may be potentially given to those who stimulate the research into hydrogen cars, and ‘try’ and reduce their environmental impact on the earth. So not only are less taxes collected due to fewer taxes being collected from oil, but instead money is passed on to those who drive a car that is less efficient then a regular diesel hybrid.

Now before going nuts about the hydrogen economy of the future, go back to your gr.12 physics textbook and look at the chapter on thermodynamics. Or if thats too far here is a quick online review of it. Hydrogen isn’t an energy source — it’s an energy carrier, like a battery, in which case it takes more energy to put it there then it is actually worth. You better also not be surprised about having your new hydrogen car weighing several times more then a normal ones. Just please don’t forget the words of the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration (NHTSA) “Vehicle weight reduction is probably the most powerful technique for improving fuel economy. Each 10 percent reduction in weight improves the fuel economy of a new vehicle design by approximately eight percent.” But on the other hand you get to drive like a tank and carry a sticker on your car showing that this is a hydrogen car and that if you get into a serious accident the whole block will go up in flames. (Free hydrogen is extremely reactive. It is ten times more flammable than gasoline, and twenty times more explosive.) When expecting your next hydrogen delivery to arrive at your local gas station please don’t hope that it will actually be able to fuel more then 60 cars, as the 40 ton truck will only be carrying 400kg of hydrogen, and will use up 20-40% of the energy delivered just by getting to your station.

So the next time you get into your ‘clean’ hydrogen powered care, along with your going green handbook take the single page about the ‘Five Myths of the Hydrogen Fueled Vehicle,’ and show those damn gas car drivers about who is boss on the road.

Andrei Ryan 14/05/08

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Posted in climate sceptics
One comment on “Hydrogen Highway to Hell
  1. jeremy says:

    I continue to be enthused by the notion of a hydrogen-based economy, although I am a little less gung-ho than I used to be as we are clearly still in the embryonic stages from a technological point of view. Amory Lovins (one of the Natural Capitalism authors) is perhaps the most persuasive in mounting the case. He might be worth a read: http://www.rmi.org/images/other/Trans/T04-01_HypercarH2AutoTrans.pdf

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