Date registered: Sep 2004
Vehicle: 2014 E250 Bluetec 4-Matic, 1983 240D 4-Speed
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Quoted: 256 Post(s)
RE: "Hydrogen Economy"
The idea there is a single solution to any problem is against the way nature works. Nature always finds a number of solutions, and then lets them compete, which leads to niche solutions and a general proliferation of possible solutions. Look at all the life forms on Earth.
We should do the same. All possible energy delivery solutions should be pursued and compete. It should not come a surprise that some will be better than others in nearly every end use application, and no single solution will work best in all applications. We will end up with niche energy solutions. Lots of back-ups to ensure energy is available, some cumbersome in certain uses, and others less so. But you will never be without any.
Biodiesel, if it became a significant contributor to the energy needs of the country, would be managed differently than it is today, and become less susceptible to droughts or blights. Nuclear power can be exploited, safely, with appropriate investments and regulation. Domestic hydrocarbons can be harvested for quite some time, especially at $45-$55 per barrel.
Hydrogen, in its gaseous form, can be used in close proximity to the hydrogen gas sources. As a mobile energy source it is presently not practical. Gaseous Hydrogen is far too poor in the energy density metric. High pressure systems will outweigh their payload by 100:1 or so. Using very lightweight and costly materials this might be improved to 50:1, with a concurrent increase in cost of nearly an order of magnitude. Compared to the simple gas tank you now have, the weight and cost of the Hydrogen storage means will dominate a vehicle with more than a 50 mile range. The same is true for the portable cracking systems. In any case, the present line of research on fuel cells still demands a very, very, very pure form of Hydrogen to operate reliably.
That doesn't mean this problem of energy density cannot be overcome. It can, with appropriate research. But that is not the present thrust of most people working on Hydrogen as an energy source.
For cars, the Hydrogen powered vehicles that exist today are mostly technology demonstrations of the fuel cell (proton exchange membrane) technology. To be successful they will have to solve the Hydrogen energy density storage problem, and they will need very robust, energy and power dense batteries or capacitors.