So... I like the show Dancing with the stars. I cheered when Drew won last year even though I wish they just called it a three way tie between Stacey, Jerry Rice and Drew. This year I have been hoping for either Joey or Emmitt Smith but Joey made 3rd place and won't be in the finale.
What other loves do I have? Home Improvement, cooking, and keeping up with technology, science and whatnot. Ever since high school when I learned about Hydrogen in Chemistry class, I always thought Hydrogen could be used instead of gas in cars. I watched fascinated as two electrodes in water (one negative and one positive) made water separate into hydrogen and oxygen. A balloon connected to the contraption filled with the hydrogen in minutes. And to everyone's delight the teacher struck a match and we watched a quick flash of flame when the hydrogen burned quickly.
So... due to my fascination I've always kept up on the technology/science/economics of using hydrogen for transportation. Popular Mechanics has a very good article outlining the difficulties in using hydrogen. It wants to stay attached to other elements as a molecule (like water - H20). It attaches very easily and is very hard to separate. It takes a lot of energy to separate and then store.
One part of the article says:
The lightest gas in the universe isn't easy to corral. Skeptics say that hydrogen promises to be a needlessly expensive solution for applications for which simpler, cheaper and cleaner alternatives already exist. "You have to step back and ask, 'What is the point?'" says Joseph Romm, executive director of the Center for Energy & Climate Solutions.
What is the point? I don't know. Because Brazil is doing it - so we have to do it. Sounds like peer pressure. How about because it's the cleanest of fuels - and that is cool ! Yes, it is clean but how much energy is expended in separating out hydrogen from water so that it can be used. That energy isn't clean....
Yes, I have a soft spot in my heart for the
fuel "way of storing or transporting energy" (Popular Mechanics says that's what it is and that it isn't a fuel), but look at this paragraph:
At present, 95 percent of America's hydrogen is produced from natural gas. Through a process called steam methane reformation, high temperature and pressure break the hydrocarbon into hydrogen and carbon oxides — including carbon dioxide, which is released into the atmosphere as a greenhouse gas. Over the next 10 or 20 years, fossil fuels most likely will continue to be the main feedstock for the hydrogen economy. And there's the rub: Using dirty energy to make clean energy doesn't solve the pollution problem-it just moves it around. "As a CO2 reducer, hydrogen stinks," Romm says.
After all that I've studied about Hydrogen I didn't know this secret. Why? Because the drive-by legacy press fails to do their job. Journalists around the country should be doing research, finding facts and publishing them. To give people the idea that hydrogen is a panacea or the wave of the future or a great hope without giving the other side of the story is negligent. Then again, when have journalists done due diligence lately? That was rhetorical. They haven't done it in constitutional law, economics, environment, ok... I'm overly harsh. They can't sell their product if they get too deep into the subject matter right?
I love charts and this article has a handy dandy one on the 3rd page giving people perspective about how much would be required for a technology to replace fossil fuels (like solar, wind, nuclear, coal, etc). Pretty interesting stuff.